Olivier Salad is a traditional Russian Potato Salad that's easy to prepare. A tasty mix of small chopped up pieces, this will be the tastiest potato salad you make. It's crazy good!
Olivier Salad (салат Оливье) is enjoyed at every Russian celebration dinner, especially for Christmas and New Year celebrations. It's pronounced olivyeh in Russian, the R is silent. Just like many Russian salads like Herring Under a Fur Coat or Vinegret Beet Salad, it takes time to prepare these delicious salads.
You'll find versions of Olivier Salad all over the world. Popular in Eastern European countries, Poland, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and even in Latin America! It's known as; руска салата, Bramborový Salát, Ensaladilla Rusa, Salada Russa, Rus salatası, Ensalada Rusa. The common thread for most of these names is that it translates as Russian Salad.
Olivier Salad History
Olivier Salad, sometimes spelled Olivye, was made in the 1860's. This Russian Salad was invented in Moscow by Lucien Olivier, but it was made very differently from the modern Olivier of today. The original recipe had crayfish, smoked duck, caviar, and grouse. The original recipe was a guarded secret, and it wasn't a regular staple on the dinner table across Russia, like it is today.
In post revolutionary Russia, the recipe changed to more easily accessible ingredients. The expensive and rare ingredients made way for eggs, green peas, pickles, cucumbers and meat, and lots of mayo.
Olivier Salad with Ham
Traditionally, Olivye has been made with a Russian meat called Doktorskaya Kolbassa. This is just a Soviet version of American Bologna, with arguably better quality meat and a lower fat content than the American meat. I am not a fan or Doktorskaya or Bologna, so we use other meats. You could skip the meat altogether and make vegetarian Olivier.
Usually we make this recipe with baked leftover Christmas Ham, in preparation for the upcoming New Years feast. I always make a Coca-Cola Ham at Xmas and this is a great way to use up leftover ham! Plus I like the meatiness of real meats, when comparing it to processed deli meat. Ham steaks are a good alternative they are easy to cut.
The other way we make Olivye is with Smoked Chicken. You can smoke it yourself, or more commonly, it's easy to buy smoked chicken breast is most supermarkets. It adds a great flavor and texture to your salad.
The hardest part of this recipe is cutting ingredients all the same size. It's a lot of work! Here's a tip! I recently bought an Onion Chopper which works amazing! It's so easy to dice anything perfectly with one quick swoop. The chopper is such a time saver and gives the salad a uniform look required.
Olivier Salad Recipe Tips
- Don't overcook the potatoes - they will become mushy and are harder to cut.
- Add a de-seeded cucumber for more texture and a crunchy freshness
- Pre-cook vegetables and eggs in advance to allow enough time to cool
- Use half sour cream and half mayonnaise to lower fat content
- Buy a timesaving chopper to cut vegetables
- Don't skip the dill, that's my favorite part!
- Find a Russian Mayo for the real taste - trust me, it tastes better!
This Russian Salad recipe is not just a regular potato salad, but much tastier and worth the effort of making for your next special event, potluck or bbq! Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Olivier Salad - Olivye (салат Оливье)
- 1 lb /½ kg Ham or Smoked Chicken Breast
- 4 medium potatoes peeled
- 4 carrots peeled
- 1 can of peas drained
- 5 hard-boiled eggs diced
- 5 medium-sized dill pickles
- ⅓ cup green onion optional
- ½ small onion finely diced
- 1 bunch fresh dill chopped
- 1 ½ cups mayo
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil potatoes and carrots. Cook until soft, but be careful not to overcook them so they don't turn to mush. Cool the vegetables with ice water.
- Hard boil the eggs for about 11 minutes. Cool and peel.
- Dice the potatoes, carrots, eggs, pickles, and ham into small ¼" pieces. (try to keep everything the same size)
- Put all the ingredients (except peas) into a large bowl. Carefully mix throughout. Taste. Add more mayo if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Carefully add the peas and gently mix without crushing them. Refrigerate and enjoy!