Do Russians Really Eat Russian Salad? (RECIPE INCLUDED)
“Russian Salad”, served in the restaurants outside of Russia, is usually just a bleak copy of the most popular salad of the country. In most cases, Russian salad abroad is a plain potato salad, which has just several ingredients, cut in large chunks. Our version has 6-7 ingredients, all finely cut in small cubes. We love it, but we never call it Russian salad here.
Russian salad in Russia is called Olivier, by the name of its creator – French chef Lucien Olivier, who had a chic Parisian-style restaurant “Hermitage” in Moscow in the end of 19th century. This salad was one of the magnets, which attracted people to his restaurant.
Chef Olivier kept the recipe in such secret that researchers still argue about the original composition of ingredients. Main ingredients of his version of this dish are thought to be: hazel hen, black caviar, veal tongue, crayfish tails, lettuce, cucumbers, capers, olives and boiled eggs. Provencal sauce was prepared from French vinegar, olive oil and egg yolks.
Soviet time corrected the recipe of Olivier salad almost beyond recognition. Chicken (or bologna sausage) replaced hazel hen, caviar was eliminated, and potatoes and carrots were added. To the credit of Soviet chefs though – they changed the name of the salad to “Stolichny” (from “Stolitsa” – Capital). But all Russians still call that salad – Olivier.
And we do love it! Olivier salad is always present at the festive meals, especially at the New Year meal. To us Olivier is a symbol of festivity and abundance.
Here is the recipe of the Russian Salad – Soviet style (cooked by the author):
1) First step is to assemble all the ingredients:
Ingredients for Russian Salad (minus mayo)
2) Next task – chop them! Key to success is in fine cut – look at the close up – all cubes should be equal or smaller to the peas!
Main secret – fine cut of the ingredients
All cubes should be equal or smaller to peas
3) Next step – mixing the salad and adding mayo. You may make mayo from scratch if you have time, if not – try to buy the provencal variety:
Russian salad requires a lot of mayo. If you are weight and health conscious – use low calorie mayo
4) Finally – the presentation:
Do not let this dollop of salad fool you. I recreated the restaurant serving of Russian salad in my kitchen… but the usual portion is several times bigger
Enjoy! And let me know if you want to see any other authentic Russian recipes in my blog!