Russian salad is one of the most popular salads in Russia and Eastern Europe. This dish is usually served at the family table. Russian potato salad is a frequent visitor of the New Year celebration and other holidays.
Some moments from history
Olivier or Olivie salad is one of the most popular Russians salads from the XIX century. This salad was named by Lucien Olivier. He was a French chef in Moscow restaurant “Ermitazh” during the period from 1860 th - till 1883. Russian olivier salad was very popular among landowners who attend restaurants and run through money.
Chef Olivier tried to understand a mysterious Russian soul and invented a salad popular with the Russians ingredients. Like a true Frenchman he could not to add a little bit of France to the dish. It was a Provencal sauce.
The original recipe of this salad was kept under wrap. Firstly it was mentioned in the magazine “Our food” in 1894. At that time russian salad recipe included the following ingredients: fried hazel grouse, potatoes, fresh cucumbers, capers, olives, Provencal sauce with the addition of Soya-Kabul soy sauce.
At the beginning of the XX century we can see some other variants of the Russian olivier salad recipe. In cookbooks we meet varieties of ingredients. For example, in publication by E.Molokhovets in 1904 Olivier salad included hazel grouse, veal tongue, pressed caviar, fresh salad, boiled crayfish, lobster.
Russian cookery expert Bobrinskiy advised to add wild game or chicken meat, potatoes, pickles, eggs, lettuce, mayo and soy-kabul souce in 1913.
Traditional and well known for every soviet mother hen “Book about tasty and healthy food” run that popular salad should be cooked from boiled or fried hazel grouse, potatoes, fresh or pickled cucumbers, eggs, green salad, mayonnaise, soy-kabul, vinegar or lemon juice, powdered sugar.
Over time hazel grouse was replaced with sausage, to the salad were added boiled carrots and canned or boiled (in some recipes fresh) peas. For the dish decoration are usually used salad leaves, pieces of cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs, meat.
1. Choose your meat
If you want to find your own best Russian potato salad recipe it is advisable to experiment with the ingredients - choose the best for your money. Traditionally, there was used grouse, but it was in the XIXth century!
As we mentioned above, after the recipe renovation in 1940-1950-s hazel grouse was replaced with more accessible “doctor sausage”. You may try to use grouse or chicken, beef, even shrimps, crab meat and quails will be wonderful statements for this salad.
2. Only cubes
The second important advice runs: all the ingredients should be cubed! Besides, meat and vegetables should be cut in the same size. It is not allowed to mix ingredients in different sizes.
3. Сommitment to values - use mayo
Do not be frightened of mayo! Nobody has invented better dressing for this salad that mayonnaise yet! In some recipes you can meet sour cream and yogurt instead of mayo. But such variants are only for people who are crazy about low-calorie diets. Directly mayo creates that unique taste. It is an essential ingredient like meat, potato and eggs - they are compulsory at any case.
4. Keep an eye on potatoes
Keep a close eye on potatoes while boiling! Remember to cook potatoes unpeeled and immediately drain the water when they are cooked. Let the potatoes cool, then peel and cube.
5. Use pickles
In the original russian salad recipe we meet olives and capers. During the Soviet time these ingredients were not used - it was difficult to find them in supermarkets. But, sometimes people try also to replace pickles with apple, onion, fresh cucumbers or smth other ingredients. Please, do not do it - pickles add their own spicy taste.
6. Fresh taste
Of course, it is your own right to add cucumbers or an apple, but we recommend it.
7. Be patient
Sounds strange, but Olivie salad tastes better the next day after cooking. If you want to check it, please, keep your dish in the freezer and add mayo only before serving! It would be more healthy.
You are free to find your own taste. The best way to do this - start experimenting with the quantity of dressing and ingredients.
The taste of the dish depends on the way it is served. Try to find interesting variants. Once, I was served Russian salad on a metal plate. Such plates were used in Soviet eateries many years ago. Everything would be nothing but this serving method I saw in Greece in Czech restaurant. I was really surprised by that. To tell the truth, the taste was terrible - there was a lot of mayo and less of meat. But I remembered this dish for my life due to the way it was served.
By the way, I prefer to use tartlets for serving Olivier.
We have mentioned above, that the best Russian potato salad recipe is a recipe with mayo in the capacity of dressing. But that is not all! Add some mustard and ground pepper to increase taste and you will get a new sauce.