Even though in every Russian family Olivier salad is made in their own way with some secret ingredient, like grandma used to do it, let’s try to remember where this dish came from and give thanks to the Russian chief of French origin named Lucien Olivier who invented the salad any New Years table seems empty without.
Famous salad Olivier has been coined by the chef Lucien Olivier in 1860s. Lucien has been not only a cook, but he also owned “Hermitage” restaurant at Trubnaya Square in Moscow. His restaurant could easily compete with any Parisian establishment. His crown dish was the famous salad nicknamed after him which recipe he kept in complete secrecy. After chefs passing story of his dish got surrounded by rumors and the recipe was considered lost. There were many attempts to find Olivier’s records, but nobody was able to do it.
In 1904 few chefs have recovered the recipe based on their knowledge of main ingredients. The following ingredients were on the list: pressed caviar (0.25 lbs), two grouses, veal tongue, boiled crayfish – 25 pc, soy – 0.5 can, 2 cucumbers, green salad leaves – 0.5 lbs, assorted pickled vegetables – 0.5 can, capers – 0.25 lbs, 5 hard-boiled eggs. Sauce required French vinegar, two eggs and province olive oil (i.e. province mayo).
Now, this salad is prepared based on many recipes.
My recipe was very popular in St.Petersburg, it has chicken or can be cooked with any other bird meat. Another name for this version of Olivier is “Capitol salad” (Stolichniy Salad). This dish is very popular it is an absolute favorite on every New Year feast table. Bon appetite and happy New Year!
For more Russian recipes, visit Russian Cuisine page.
Salad "Olivier" - Potato Salad
- 5 medium yellow potatoes
- 3 medium carrots
- 3 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, chopped
- 3 scallions, diced
- 4 chicken thighs, cooked, no skin, very finely chopped (or other cooked bird meat)
- 1 (15 ounces) can peas, drained
- 3-4 small dill pickles, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- fresh dill (optional)
Place the potatoes and carrots (don't peel them) into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Let it cool. When the vegetables are cool, peel them and dice them into a large bowl.
Next step is easy, just add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place the salad in a salad serving plate or individual glass bowls. Sprinkle with a fresh dill.