Salad “Olivier” (Салат “Оливье”)


In the interest of full disclosure, I am not reinventing the wheel with this recipe. This is one of the most (if not THE most) popular items on a Russian dinner table, and every family does it a little bit differently. Some variations include the addition of chopped tart apples, and the omission of ham in favor of more veggies. But no matter how you do it, it’s always colorful, delicious and full of vegetables. It’s also very easy, most of the work involved in the chopping of the ingredients.  Olivier keeps well refrigerated for up to three days and is a balanced meal with a good amount of protein, so I’ve been known to take leftovers for lunch to work.

The name “Olivier” is obviously of French origin but I have not been able to figure out whether this is an actual French recipe or a Russian recipe with a French name. Any help from my European friends and readers??

I made this as one of the sides (along with  horseradish mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans with cherry tomatoes) to go with the roasted chicken and Beef Wellington (this recipe to come later on) over the holiday weekend, and it was a very refreshing accompaniment to a very food-coma inducing meal! The peas are sweet, the pickles are crunchy, the ham is smoky… the end result is… yummy. My husband does not like sweet peas, but will eat them pretty much exclusively in this dish.


SALAD “OLIVIER” (serves 8)

3-4 large yellow or red potatoes

3 eggs

1 large carrot

5 dill pickles

1 cucumber

1/2 cup canned sweet peas

3 stalks of green onion

1/2 cup of chopped ham

1 tablespoon of chopped dill

handful of chopped fresh parsley

1:1 ratio of mayo to sour cream – I used about 2 generous tablespoons of each, but some people like this salad more or less creamy

Salt and pepper to taste

Start by boiling the potatoes, eggs and carrot. The eggs should be hard-boiled, and the potatoes and carrot should retain just enough texture not to turn mushy. While those are boiling, chop the rest of the ingredients (except for the sweet peas), and lightly  toss together. Now, peel and chop the potatoes, eggs and carrot and add to the rest of the ingredients. Mix all the ingredients together before adding the salt, pepper, and mayo/sour cream, so that you don’t end up mashing it too much. Then give another light toss to cover all the ingredients in the dressing. Garnish with additional fresh dill.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!


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2 Responses to Salad “Olivier” (Салат “Оливье”)

  1. chef mimi says:

    There is a similar reicpe in an old Russian cookbook of mine, and a Czech friend makes something similar as well. They both contain canned peas, and macaroni. I can’t help with the provenance of this recipe, but it is fascinating!

  2. Lena says:

    After checking this post, I am so tempted to run to Brighton Beach to get one of those… Maybe this weekend I will have more spare time to actually make it!

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