Monday, 30 January 2012

Russian Salad (Insalata Russa)

My old-ball-and-chain, Mrs Ribeye, is Russian - actually from Syktyvkar in the Komi Republic, close to the Ural mountains. Russian salad is actually Spanish. Mrs Ribeye hates things that say they are Russian, but are not authentic. But, Mrs Ribeye loves this Russian salad.

I first had 'insalata Russa' in a fabulous traditional family-run tapas restaurant in Caleta, a small village on the south coast of Tenerife.

My Dad, Mr Ribeye Sr (who just came back from a trip to Caleta), said that the old tapas place has gone all 'up-market' (naturally), but that a new tapas bar had opened recently and was making the Russian salad just as well, but at 1998 prices. Hurrah!

I haven't taken Mrs Ribeye to Caleta yet, but I will.

Eat this salad (actually more of a potato/fish pate) with a good warm white bread, a cold bad red wine and a fresh tomato and spring onion salad. You'll not only love it, but you'll wonder how you made such a fantastic dish for only £1 per serving.

Serves 4 for a starter or light lunch, or 8 as tapas


500g floury potatoes, such as King Edward or Maris Piper
200g tinned tuna, drained
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
100g pickled gherkins or cornichons, finely chopped
200ml mayonnaise
Pinches of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of paprika
Warm crusty bread rolls, to serve

Boil the potatoes whole and with their skins still on, until soft. Peel the potatoes, while hot and with a cloth to protect your hands, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the tuna, onion, gherkins, mayonnaise and salt and pepper and mix well, breaking down the potatoes as you go, until you have a thick paste. Place on a serving platter and smooth the surface until you have an even dome. Sprinkle with the paprika. Refrigerate and then serve with the warm bread. 

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