Russian salad Salamanca style tapa or Paloma —known also as palomita—, which literally translates as pigeon, is a well-known tapa from the famous city of Salamanca. You will just need to make a Russian salad Spanish style and fry some wheat rinds, known as cortezas or cueros de trigo in Spanish, in order to make these delicious hors-d’oeuvres.
Let us say that the Russian salad or Oliver salad is not native to Spain, nevertheless, it has been in our kitchens since ancient times and we have given it our own twist, indeed. This salad, also called ensaladilla imperial at a certain time in our history, was also made with partridge, salmon, lobster or caviar.
However, nowadays it is a cheap and popular dish made with at least potatoes, carrots, peas, hard-boiled eggs, olives and pickled cucumbers —all diced— and mixed with mayonnaise and canned tuna. It can be enjoyed at any bar in the Spanish territory as a tapa, but, as a matter of fact, every Spaniard has his favorite ensaladilla rusa, obviously made by his grandmother or his mother.
We’ll be making a basic Russian salad for this tapa, basic meaning with just the most common ingredients, and use authentic wheat rinds from Salamanca. Though, if you are not able to find these rinds, we will give you some hints after the instructions to easily substitute them.
- 1½ cup (250g) potatoes, diced
- 1 cup carrots (150g), diced
- ½ cup (75g) green peas
- 2 tablespoons pickled cucumbers, diced
- ¼ cup green olives pitted and quartered
- 1 hard-boiled egg, cut into chunks
- ½ cup (105g) tuna packed in olive oil, drained and chunked
- 3 to 4 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise
- White wine vinegar (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 6 wheat rinds
- Olive oil for deep-frying
- 2 hard-boiled yolks for garnish
- Stir-fried green asparagus tips for garnish
- Roasted red peppers for garnish
- Green olives for garnish
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Prepare an ice bath first and then cook the vegetables separately in salted water until tender.
- Remove them from the boiling water with a sieve and plunge them into the ice bath.
- Drain the vegetables, mix in the pickles, the olives, the hard-boiled eggs and the tuna. You can drizzle a few drops of vinegar and olive oil if you like.
- Fold in the mayonnaise and season with salt and black pepper. Keep the salad in the fridge for at least four hours.
- Heat enough oil and fry the wheat rinds until crispy and golden-light.
- Take them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on kitchen paper.
- Finally, cover each rind with Russian salad, top it with mayonnaise, and garnish with grated egg yolk, chopped parsley, roasted red peppers, green asparagus tips and green olives.
Tips for a perfect Paloma or Russian salad Salamanca style tapa:
- Remember that each vegetable has its own cooking time and that is why it is better to cook them separately.
- Do not take the vegetables out of the ice bath before they are completely cool.
- Try to add boiled shrimps, spring onion, roasted red bell peppers or canned asparagus to your Russian salad, also. You are free to try without hesitation!
- If you can not find wheat rinds (vegan pork rinds) you can use real pork rinds or bean curd sheets instead; it might not be the same but they will do the trick.
- Las Palomas were originally made with Russian salad, but you will find new varieties in many bars that can range from apple salads, guacamoles or even Russian salads made with octopus.
- In León, there is a bar named El Gaucho famous for a tapa called Gaviota. The name means seagull in Spanish and consists of wheat rinds covered with a kind of Russian salad made of shredded crab. In other words, another kind of Paloma.
- We have not lingered in the recipe of the Russian salad in this post. However, it is such an important dish in Spanish cuisine that it deserves a whole post… Look forward to it!
Finally, serve these delicious Russian salad Salamanca style tapa or Palomas along with some cool white wine. No doubt, you will enjoy it as if you were in the ancient city of Salamanca.