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Simple side dish to impress guests at the last minute

11 March 2013
Louise Liebenberg

I WAS invited to a braai the other day and asked to bring “something salady”. Not having much time to rustle up something elaborate, I recalled the quintessential Spanish salad, ensaladilla Rusa, which ironically translates to “Russian salad”.

No one seems to know why it is called that, but what I do know is that this side dish always seems to go down well – even at a good old South African braai!

Make sure you either make your own mayo for this (it makes all the difference) or at the very least a decent brand like Hellman’s, or else it won’t taste like it’s supposed to.

Ensaladilla Rusa or Spanish (“Russian”) Potato Salad

Serves six as a side dish


3 carrots, diced into smallish blocks

4 to 5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced

2 eggs, boiled

1 cup of frozen baby peas

½ onion, finely chopped and blanched

1 standard-sized tin of solid-meat tuna in vegetable oil, drained

1 cup of mayonnaise

(more if desired)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Pimento-stuffed green olives and roasted red pepper strips for garnishing


Steam or boil carrots and potatoes until cooked, but still firm enough not to fall apart when being mixed through. About 25 minutes in a steamer should do it, but it is best to watch the veggies so they don’t go too far. I prefer it if the carrots do still have a slight bit of crunch.

In the meantime defrost the peas (I let them thaw naturally and then blanch them for about two minutes when I am ready to add them to the salad – let them cool down first and drain properly).

Once the potatoes and carrots are done, drain them very well, cool and season.

Mix together the carrots, potatoes and peas; add the blanched onion, chopped egg and the tuna (which has been flaked with a fork). Mix mayonnaise through the whole lot, check seasoning again, then pile generously onto a serving platter.

Garnish with the strips of roasted red pepper and olives.

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