Revolutionary Russian Salad

Of Potatoes, Carrots, Beans, Peas, Tongue, Truffle and Lobster

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Salads

Salads

By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

While the classic Russian salad – first created by French chefs at the courts of the Tsars – may just seem too odd a combination, it is actually quite a delicious dish. It is an example of a European salad with contrasting textures and a complex array of ingredients – while truffle and lobster may seem happy to sit on the same plate, truffle oil and ox tongue are a revelation.

With the usual mayonnaise binding replaced by a lemon vinaigrette, you will find this much lighter and fresher than the Russian salad of memory. I’ve assumed that most people will find it hard to get hold of a few slices of fresh white truffle, so truffle oil comes to the rescue. And for those of you still a little squeamish about tongue, substitute some crispy grilled pancetta or even some sliced roast chicken breast.

Ingredients

  • 2 lobsters, each about 500 g, cooked and flesh removed (see below)
  • 350 g waxy potatoes (Anya, Fingerling and Pink Fir are good choices), boiled and cooled
  • large handful of green beans
  • 150 g fresh peas, blanched
  • 8 thickish slices (about 200g) of cooked and peeled ox tongue, or use lambstongues
  • 12–16 baby carrots (or use a large carrot cut into batons)
  • small bunch of sprouts or cress

For the Dressing

  • teaspoons white truffle oil (black truffle oil has an earthier flavour that doesn’t work so well here)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Slice the lobster tail across into 8 pieces. If the digestive tract is still intact (it runs through the centre of the tail), pick it out of each slice with a toothpick. Cut the potatoes in half lengthways. Blanch the green beans and peas in boiling water for 2 minutes only, and then refresh in cold water until cool.

Make the dressing by mixing the truffle oil, olive oil and lemon juice, and lightly season.

To Serve

Interweave the lobster tail and tongue slices on the plate, and drizzle with a few teaspoons of the dressing. Mix the potatoes, carrots, beans and half the remaining dressing in a bowl and place on top, scattering the peas over last of all. Place a shelled lobster claw on top, then pour the remaining dressing over and scatter with the sprouts or cress.