Omnivore - Ensaladilla Rusa: Russia by way of Spain

Potato salad that will blow your mind


Potato salad: the Russians invented it, and the Spanish perfected it. Well, at least José Andrés has perfected it. I first came across ensaladilla Rusa while watching Andrés' "Made in Spain" on PBS a few years ago. Andrés is known for his boundless enthusiasm for the simple dishes and great ingredients of Spain; and his version of the ensaladilla Rusa is a brilliant combination of those two things. It's basically potato, hard-boiled egg, carrots, peas, mayonnaise made from some good olive oil, and high quality Spanish tuna. The little twist at the end is topping the dish with trout roe or caviar to add a briny crunch. It's a brilliant combination of flavors and textures, and the final dish is addictively good. Check out José's easy steps to make ensaladilla Rusa (and the wonderful and simple olive oil mayonnaise necessary to make it work), and you will be very happy.

A few tips:
- The cheap orange and black fish roe at Ikea are great bargain alternatives to more expensive trout roe or caviar. The contrasting colors also make for a great visual presentation.
- Invest in good quality tuna. Whole Foods carries the Ortiz product, but is priced a bit prohibitively. I've purchased mine online from Amazon and gotten great deals.
- Make the dish a few hours or even a day ahead to let all the flavors come together. It's best brought to room temperature.
- The Made in Spain cookbook is a wonderful introduction to the regions and dishes of Spain, and manages to capture at least some of Andrés' infectious energy in print.