When I asked my friend Nadia for a typical Russian recipe, she said she would send me a recipe for Russian salad. Additionally, she said that every family has their own version of Russian salad. She prefers using crab and she sent me a link to a variation using smoked salmon. The ingredients are simple and easy to find in most supermarkets.
The original recipe I used comes from Chef Giorgio Locatelli and I have modified it slightly. First, the defrosted frozen peas didn’t seem to need blanching so I skipped that step. Also, I think 400 grams of either smoked salmon or crab meat will work to add the seafood flavour. Finally, I ate the salad on the same day rather than chilling overnight, mostly because I could not wait to try it!
Thinking back to my trip to Russia, I forgot to try the Russian salad there. However, I remember well the beef stroganoff, pelmeni (dumplings), and Moscow mule!
3 large potatoes
3 medium carrots, peeled
300g frozen peas, defrosted
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced finely
5 medium-sized pickled gherkins, diced finely
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
400g sliced smoked salmon or 400g crab meat
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
First, in a large pot, boil the potatoes for 15 minutes. Then add the peeled carrots. Continue boiling for 10-15 more minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots soft enough to poke through with a knife. They should not get too mushy.
When the potatoes and carrots are done, allow them to cool. Then peel the potatoes and dice them into 1cm cubes and put them into a medium serving bowl. Next, dice the carrots and toss them in the bowl. Also add the peas, diced eggs and gherkins. Stir the mayonnaise into the salad, binding everything together. Cut half of the smoked salmon into 1cm pieces and mix these into the salad.
Cover the salad and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight to allow the flavours to come together. The next day, serve the salad in a serving dish accompanied by the smoked salmon on a plate. Season the salmon with pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
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