insalata russa rossa (pink potato salad)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in main meal recipes | 1 comment

insalata russa rossa (pink potato salad)

I love it when I contact someone I interviewed in Italy to ask for recipe inspiration, and they hand me a gem wrapped up in their own family history.  This insanely pink salad has been a Christmas tradition for 3 generations in the family of Silvio Berlusconi’s image consultant. Presumably she never suggested that Italy’s flamboyant former Prime Minister should wear a beetroot coloured tie. It may have clashed somewhat with his slightly, er, orange complexion.  However this unusual but simple dish is a perfect accompaniment to cold meats such as ham and turkey. It’s really easy to make for a large number of people and is a fantastic quick meal for kids who are of course intrigued by the colour. Pink isn’t just for girls.


Preparation time 30-40 minutes

Serves 4-6 as a side dish



600g peeled potatoes 

200g beetroot

150g tuna drained

2 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced

cornichons or gherkins sliced


salt and pepper

parsley – a couple of sprigs finely chopped



1. You’ll need 2 pans on the hob. One to cook the the peeled spuds. Keep them whole or halved unless they’re enormous. Stick the beetroots in the second pan of boiling water. When beets are cooked and soft, peel and cut into little cubes (1-2cm). Make sure the potatoes are cooked but still firm and not overdone. Drain and set aside to cool. Then chop spuds into 2-3 cm cubes.

2. Tip the drained tuna into a big bowl and mash with a fork. Add 2 or 3 dessert spoons of mayonnaise and the potato cubes. Mix together. This is why you don’t want overcooked spuds or they turn to mash at this point. Then add beetroot and seasoning. Combine more gently so beets don’t disintegrate.

3. Transfer the deliciously pink mixture to your serving bowl. Then spread a thin layer of mayo on top before decorating with hard boiled egg, cornichons, and parsley.




One Comment

  1. Love this salad….it reminded me of something my mum used to make when I was little…looking forward to trying it out on my two next weekend.

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