- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 4 potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 3-4 pickled cucumbers
- 1 cup green peas (canned or frozen)
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice (half a lemon)
- 1-2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- black pepper
- sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
Russian salad is an European classic. You will find it as a local dish in many countries other than Russia, and not only in Eastern Europe. Surprisingly, Spain has its own version of Russian salad that can be found in many typically Spanish menus.
The Bulgarian version of Russian salad comprises many vegetables and is typically served as a side-dish on all well-garnished Bulgarian dinner tables. It is considered an appetizer as a spread for white country bread, but it is so rich that it can be considered a meal on its own.
Traditionally, it is the Bulgarian housewife’s pride to beat up the best homemade mayonnaise with fresh eggs for her Ruska salata. If you’re a fan of homemade mayonnaise and have the best recipe, give it a try, but keep in mind that fresh mayonnaise shouldn’t be kept for over a day. However, most modern Bulgarian households use “good-quality” store-bought mayonnaise, as it permits to keep the leftovers well over 24 hours in the fridge and thus have them for subsequent meals.
Optionally, Ruska salata can be made with or without diced ham, and you can be creative adding or not fresh herbs to taste such as parsley or chives.
- Use 2 eggs, that were previously hard boiled (the yolk should be firm so boil eggs for about 15 minutes). Make sure the eggs are cooled and peel off the shells. Finely chop the hard boiled eggs and set aside in a large bowl.
- Peel the carrots and the potatoes and chop them in large chunks. Boil them in salted water or over steam, until cooked. They should become tender but not mushy. Cool them in some ice cold water and chop them finely into tiny dice and add to the eggs in the bowl.
- Finely chop the pickled cucumbers and add them into the bowl of vegetables. You can also use gherkins if preferred. To total quantity should be 1/2 to 1 cup of diced pickles into your salad.
- Thaw 1 cup of frozen green peas under hot water or used canned (drained and rinsed) green peas and add them to the vegetables in the salad bowl, mixing carefully without mashing them. Alternatively, you can reduce the quantity of green peas and add other small frozen vegetables to your salad. For instance, I like replacing 1/2 cup of peas with the same amount of frozen (thawed) corn kernels, which adds an interesting sweetness to the salad.
- Optionally, at this stage you can also add some ham, chopped into fine dice, if you like.
- Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste, and stir gently all the ingredients in the bowl.
- Add in the mayonnaise and the dijon mustard, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir carefully so that all the diced vegetables are well coated but not mashed. As for the quantity of mayonnaise, add some extra spoonfuls if you want your salad to be less thick, until you reach the consistency you like. Some people prefer their Ruska salata chunkier and not as creamy, in which case they would put only 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise in their recipe.
- Once the salad is mixed together, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. This will allow the flavors to blend better and will make it delicious. Decorate with a few sprigs of fresh parsley and a couple of olives and serve.
Serve Ruska salata chilled, sprinkled with fresh parsley and paprika, and topped with a few olives. It is a delicious appetizer to spread over a slice of fresh crusty bread. Try it also on pita bread or in a wrap, as a meal on its own. It can also be a healthy breakfast spread on a slice of toasted black bread, such as pumpernickel.