Growing up in a half Ukrainian, half Lithuanian household, Salat Olivier always managed to create a lot of discussion among my parents. Simply because my mom calls the salad by its Romanian variant “Salată de Boeuf,” and my dad refers to it by its more common name “Olivier.” No matter what you call it, the salad is a staple to any respectable Russian gathering, and it is a nod to tradition that continually leaves people wanting more.
The recipe for the classic dish is straightforward. The ingredients are typical pantry foods, which makes the salad easy to make on short notice. So, whether you’re looking to spice up a potato salad, or impress guests at your New Year’s Eve party, follow the instructions below for great results.
Serves 6-7 people
- 5-6 medium size yellow potatoes
- 2 medium carrots
- 2-3 Israeli pickles
- 2 eggs
- 1 can of peas (16 ounce)
- 2 ½ tbs of mayonnaise
- ½ tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of pepper
- 2 cucumbers
1. Boil potatoes and carrots.
Start off by washing the potatoes and carrots. Then peel the carrots, but leave the skin on the potatoes. Place all the potatoes and carrots in a large pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Let them boil for about 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Make sure not to overcook either vegetable, as this will cause the salad to be mushy and difficult to work with. Once done, let them cool in the fridge. Note: This step can be completed a day before.
2. Boil eggs.
Place two large eggs in a small pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Let them boil for about 10 minutes. Pour the hot water out of the pot and let the eggs cool in cold water.
3. Peel potatoes
Take the potatoes out of the fridge and peel them completely.
4. Dice potatoes, carrots, eggs, and pickles.
Cut the potatoes, carrots, eggs, and pickles into ¼ inch dice. Combine them all together in a large bowl. (Optional: At this point you can add the cucumber and/or bologna. Dice them the same way as the other ingredients).
5. Add the peas.
Pour the peas into the mix and incorporate them.
Add the mayonnaise to the vegetable and egg mix, and stir it in. I don’t like when the salad is drowning in mayonnaise, but use your own discretion when deciding how much mayonnaise your salad needs.
7. Salt and Pepper.
Add salt and pepper to taste (you can use my suggested measurements). Then toss the salad well.
Once you’re done making the Olivier, you can place it in the fridge. This lets everything settle, but it tastes delicious both cool or served right away. The salad can be easily stored in the fridge and eaten the next day as well.
A tasty and authentic Olivier never gets old. The key above all is the fine dice, but after a few drinks on New Year’s, its ability to mimic the comfort food from the Soviet Union is its most defining quality.