Although we can find the origin of this potato salad in Russia in the mid 19th Century, the ingredients are so different that I don’t really think it is the same dish. Anyway, it is one of the most popular tapas in Spain.
As a tapa, it will be served in a small plate with a piece of bread on the side or directly on top of a slice of bread. As you can imagine, bread goes really well with “ensaladilla”, as we call it there. It is also great on a sandwich (remember to use commercial mayo if the sandwich is not going to be refrigerated). I used to have one as a snack when I was in college: “ensaladilla” sandwich and doughnut, everyday at 11 –remember in Spain we eat at 2:30-3 pm-, back in the day when I didn’t have to count the calories. Probably my friend and classmate Maria still remembers my incredible appetite, which made us stay a little too long in the cafeteria… Or maybe it was just an excuse to avoid going back to class… I guess both J
I have been asked to post this recipe, which brings good memories of the holidays spent in Spain to a lot of friends. Just keep in mind it is served cold, so you can prepare it in advance, even the day before.
2 pounds small potatoes
1 cup canned tuna (preferably in olive oil)
½ cup pitted green olives
A 5-8 ounces can/jar (150-225 grs.) white asparagus
½ cup cooked green peas
½ cup cooked carrots (you won’t see them in the pictures because I avoid them, but you will find them in every other ensaladilla)
1 cup homemade mayo (see recipe in our “basics” section)
Some roasted red pepper stripes to decorate (see recipe in our “basics” section)
Extra virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish)
STEP 1.- Fill a pot with warm water, place the potatoes and eggs inside and bring to a boil. After 8-10 minutes take out the eggs and place under cold water. Cook the potatoes until done in the center but firm (depending on the variety and the size 5-10 more minutes).
STEP 2.- Peel the eggs and potatoes. Dice the potatoes into small cubes and the eggs into smaller pieces. Place them in a large bowl.
STEP3.- Drain the liquid from the asparagus and tuna cans. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and add to bowl.
STEP 4.- Add the rest of the ingredients (carrots cut into tiny pieces) to the bowl and season with salt and olive oil.
STEP 5.- Make the mayonnaise. Mix some mayo and use the rest as an icing. Decorate with some olives, green peas and/or roasted red pepper.
STEP 6.- Serve on a slice of bread (ciabatta, baguette…) or at least with white bread on the side.
- You can use green or black olives, but I prefer green
- I add the mayo at the end to prevent salmonella, but if you are going to keep it in the fridge and it is not a long time you can add it right away
- Instead of regular peppers you can use piquillo peppers
- Choose a type of potatoes that keep firm after boiling and don’t overcook them or you will have mashed “ensaladilla”
- Remember the bread!
- You can make great sandwiches with the leftovers, just mash the ensaladilla a little and add more mayo.