Russian Salad Olivier
The original recipe for the traditional Russian Salad Olivier was invented in the 1860s by a chef of Belgian origin, Lucien Olivier, of the Hermitage, one of Moscow’s most celebrated restaurants. Russian Salad Olivier is considered a winter salad, as all of the ingredients are typical for a cold Russian winter.
It resembles a potato salad, of sorts, with the addition of other cooked vegetables and meat. In the original, cooked wild meat was used, but now most people use ham or bologna or even chicken. This salad is as traditional on a Russian New Year’s table as the Thanksgiving turkey in the US. One of the best advantages of making a big batch of “Olivier” is the leftovers the next day. All the components of the salad mingle and meld to create a hearty, comforting taste.
- 3 medium potatoes
- 4 medium carrots
- 8 eggs
- 1lb ham, bologna or chicken meat
- 8 small dill pickles
- 1-2 small cucumbers
- 1 can (14-15 oz) peas
- ½ -1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 small onion, optional
- fresh chives, optional
Traditional Russian Salad Olivier Recipe Instructions:
- Boil potatoes and carrot in their skins. Do not overcook. You don’t want mashed potato or carrot in your salad.
- Drop the eggs in their shells into a pot of boiling water to cover, and let simmer gently for about 9 minutes until eggs are hard-boiled. Transfer immediately to a pot of cool water, then peel when cooled.
- Drain the peas.
- Dice the potatoes, carrots, eggs, pickles, and cucumbers into small ¼ inch dice.
- Mince the onions finely, if using. (I don’t like raw onions, so I never put them in. Another option is to use chives or green onions.)
- Mix all the ingredients with the mayonnaise.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Just like most potato salads, Russian Salad Olivier (“Olivier” for short) is best when made ahead of time and refrigerated for at least a few hours to give the ingredients time to meld. If you know you’ll be pressed for time, you can prepare all the ingredients the day before you intend to serve the salad, and store them in the refrigerator. Add the mayonnaise and allow the mixture to marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.