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Homemade Italian-Style Insalata Russa

By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:

This buffet dish is a jump into the past. It was a very common dish during the seventies in Italy, and now it is out of fashion—maybe because of the large for amount of mayonnaise required.

In Italy, we call it "Insalata Russa," but in Russia it is called "Olivye."

The typical Italian version uses diced carrots and potatoes, frozen peas, and a lot of mayonnaise. Personally, when I make a bowl of Insalata Russa, I prefer to use commercial mayonnaise because the homemade version made with our Tuscan extra virgin olive oil is too strong and completely masks the taste of boiled vegetables. If you make homemade mayo with a lighter oil, I'm sure it would be delicious as well.

Insalata Russa is perfect for a buffet, and it can be made in advance. It's perfect for a larger gathering—if we ever get to do that again! It is a perfect refreshing dish for summer parties in the garden but also a good appetizer recipe for the winter.

Insalata Russa

(Serves 6)

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 package of frozen peas

1 boiled egg, sliced for garnish

Black olives

2 cups mayo

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add diced potatoes and carrot. Cook until potatoes are tender but firm. In the last five minutes, add peas and an egg.

Drain and mix the veggies in a large bowl.

Stir in mayonnaise until salad is evenly coated.

Garnish with sliced eggs and olives.


Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), The Grimore, The Magic of the Moon, and Magic Herbs (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).

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