Salad Olivier

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This recipe is for another traditional Russian potato-based salad. This is not a potato salad per se, although it is probably the closest American approximation. It is one of the many salads that would typically be served before the main course during a holiday meal, or a salad that could serve as lunch in and of itself.


There are many versions of this salad, all slightly different from one another. There is no one correct way to make this salad, as every family typically has its own recipe for this and other Russian dishes. I had been responsible for making this salad for the holidays since I was a child, and as a result I modified it to my taste over the years. The traditional dressing for the salad is mayonnaise, but I always use sour cream. I believe the salad tastes better with sour cream, instead of the fatty sweetness of mayo. Another common ingredient that is missing from this recipe is chopped apple, as I always thought it was strange to have it in this salad.

This salad calls for meat or ham, and in our family it has usually been good-quality bologna (not the pre-sliced packaged one in the supermarket, go to the deli section and ask for e.g. German bologna). But you can also use left over steak, ham, or chopped chicken breast.


One more note: the salad is usually made in a large batch, to have plenty of leftovers. The salad will keep much better without any dressing or seasoning, so my mom and I would spoon out as much as was needed to serve at dinner into a serving bowl, and dress and season only that portion. The rest of the salad would be kept in the refrigerator, until ready to be served again.

Salad Olivier
(Serves 6-8)

You will need:
3-4 medium gold potatoes, unpeeled
3 medium carrots, unpeeled
2 eggs
2 small half-sour pickles, or kosher dills
2 Kirby cucumbers or 1 medium cucumber
1/2 lb of bologna (you can also use leftover steak, chicken breast, or ham)
1/2 cup canned green peas
1 tbsp freshly chopped dill
Sour cream, to taste (for the entire salad amount, use about 4 tbsp)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place carrots and potatoes, whole and with skin on, in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook covered, until the vegetables are done, about 20 minutes (test with a pairing knife - they are done when you feel no resistance). Pour off the water and rinse the vegetables with cold water. Place vegetables on a plate and let stand until cool enough to handle. With a pairing knife carefully peel off the skins (the skins should peel off easily; make sure not to peel the flesh of the vegetables; do not use a peeler).

2. While the vegetables are cooking, place the eggs in a separate pot filled with water and bring a boil, simmer for 15 minutes until hard boiled. Remove the eggs from heat and rinse with cold water; let stand to cool. Once cooled, remove shells.

3. Chop carrots, potatoes, eggs, pickles and cucumber into 1/4 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Slice bologna or meat into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the bowl. Add peas and dill and mix. Add sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled.


  1. I grew up eating the simple version of this salad: potatoes, carrots, peas and mayo. It is called Russian Salad and I didn´t even know it was really a salad from rusia! Your version is way more sophisticated!ha



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