Ensaladilla Rusa

One of Spain’s top tapas, this creamy potato salad is all about the homemade mayo and oil-packed tuna.

  • Serves

    Makes 15 canapés

  • Cook

    1 hour 30 minutes


By Marti Buckley

Published on May 30, 2024

Ensaladilla rusa is, after tortilla española, the most ubiquitous and popular pintxo in Spain. With its creamy mishmash of potatoes, hard-boiled egg, mayonnaise, and various canned vegetables and seafood mounded on a piece of bread, it’s a crowd-pleaser. The variations are endless: the type of mayonnaise, the cut of the vegetables, the proportions, and the inclusion of ingredients from canned peas to olives to carrots to red peppers all yield different results. This recipe approximates the ensaladilla from Bar Ezkurra, widely considered one of the best in San Sebastián. Make it as written a few times, then experiment to find your own signature mixture.

Adapted from The Book of Pintxos: Discover the Legendary Small Bites of Basque Country by Marti Buckley. Copyright © 2024. Available from Artisan.


  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (19 oz.), peeled
  • 1 medium peeled carrot, ends trimmed
  • 7 large eggs
  • 3 cups mayonnaise, preferably homemade*, divided
  • ¼ cup drained canned green peas
  • ¼ cup drained canned tuna ventresca in escabeche, or any good-quality oil-packed tuna, flaked
  • 1 baguette, sliced on the bias into 15 pieces


Step 1

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and carrot and cook for 8 minutes, then add the eggs and boil for 12 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to an ice bath. Pierce one of the potatoes with a fork; if it slides in easily, drain along with the carrot and transfer to a cutting board. (Alternatively, continue boiling until the potatoes are fork-tender.) 

Step 2

Peel the eggs and finely chop five of them (set aside the remaining two whole eggs). Cut the potatoes into ½-inch pieces and the carrot into ¼-inch pieces; transfer the chopped eggs, potatoes, and carrots to a large bowl. Add 1½ cups of the mayonnaise, the peas, tuna, and ½ teaspoon of salt and use a silicone spatula to gently combine. Fold in more mayonnaise (up to ½ cup) until the mixture is creamy and soft. Season to taste with more salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Step 3

To serve, scoop generous portions of the salad atop the baguette slices, using a butter knife to form little mountains. Remove the yolks from the remaining two eggs (reserve them for another use), then use the small holes of a box grater to grate the whites over the pintxos. Using a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip or a zip-top bag with a corner snipped off, squeeze a generous teaspoon of mayonnaise onto each pintxo.  

*If you use homemade mayo, the ensaladilla will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, though it’s best enjoyed the same day. With store-bought mayo, it will keep for up to 3 days.

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