Russian “Olivier” Salad

First of all, it is not fucking possible to make just “a little bit” of Olivier.  No matter how much you restrain yourself, and how much you half the ingredients from the list, you will end up with a huge bowl of stuff.  But don’t you worry – you will eat it all!

“Olivier” is a staple of every fucking Russian New Year’s celebration table.  It is cooked for birthdays and other occasions as well, but a New Year’s Eve without a huge bowl of Olivier is un-fucking-imaginable!  You will eat at least half a bowl while seeing the new year in, will then lay on the couch huffing and puffing like a beached whale, and will happily consume the remaining half a bowl over the next few days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Yes, it is THIS fucking good!

There are probably as many versions of “Olivier”, as there are people who cook it.  Some use chicken, some use beef, others swear by boiled sausage of even spam.  Every Russian loves and cherishes their recipe and despises everybody else’s.  Here is the “Olivier” I know and love, including my Mom’s secret ingredient – a green fucking apple.

A modest-size bowl for Olivier preparation

INGREDIENTS

Most ingredients are easy to get, but it’s the right proportions that make the winner in an “Olivier”-making competition.

  • 4 big potatoes (at least a fist’s size) boiled in skins
  • 1 big carrot (a minimum of 20 cm long), or 2 medium ones, boiled in skin
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled
  • 2 chicken breasts (~500 gr), boiled
  • 1 jar of canned sweet peas (~400 gr)
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 1 medium-sized fresh cucumber (not of the gigantic dildo variety, but a garden-grown type)
  • 3-4 relatively big salted cucumbers (do NOT under any circumstances use pickled ones!  Outside of Russia you can buy salted cucumbers in Russian, Ukrainian or Polish shops.)
  • ½ of green apple (Granny Smith, or other non-sweet variety), peeled
  • A bunch of dill and parsley, chopped
  • Mayonnaise (good-quality store-bought that you like, no need to make your own – too much fucking stress!) to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Some of the Olivier ingredients – more carrots, eggs, and cucumbers were added in the process

PREPARATION

You will have to work hard for your Olivier and sing for your supper.  A lot (and I mean a FUCKING lot!) of chopping will be involved, and it will easily take an un-trained individual up to several hours.  Every Russian kid served the pre-New Year duty in the kitchen, and can chop this shit up in record time and with amazing quality.  The most common question I get from my non-Russian friends, who were introduced to the joys of Olivier was “How the fuck did you manage to chop everything up in such small and even cubes?…”  Practice, bitches, years of fucking practice!!!

  • So, you boiled everything that needs to be boiled (make sure the potatoes are just right and not over-boiled – otherwise you don’t stand a chance in hell on the chopping front!), cool that shit down.  All ingredients need to be cold before you fucking lay hands on them.
  • Peel the potatoes and carrot(s).  Peel the eggs.  Drain the peas.
  • And now comes the chopping time!!!!  The drained peas can be left alone, but everything else (including boiled eggs) has to be chopped into small (under 1 cm) cubes.  I am sure you can find YouTube videos to discover the mysteries of Olivier chopping.  Good luck with that!
  • Throw everything into a big bowl (the bigger the better), and mix carefully, making sure you don’t fucking destroy those cubes you worked so hard to chop!

SERVING

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix in the mayonnaise.  A good Olivier is not swimming in mayo, so do not fucking overdo it!.  Also, if you are not planning to eat the whole bowl in one sitting, it is advisable to only put mayo into what you are going to eat.  The rest can safely sit in the fridge for a couple of days – you add the mayo when you want to eat it, otherwise the whole thing will turn into a fucking disaster.
  • Sprinkle with chopped dill and parsley and serve in whichever fucking way you want.  If you want to be fancy – take nice plates out, and form the Olivier on them using a medium-sized cup (fill it up with Olivier, cover with the inverted plate, and turn that shit over.  Voila!  Every kindergarten graduate skilled in making sand pies will know what I am talking about.)  It is not uncommon to eat Olivier right out of the bowl, lovingly hugging it and guarding it from the rest of the family.
    Whatever rocks your boat.  Enjoy!

P.S. You don’t have to drink vodka with this.  You can, if you want, of course, but in fact, prosecco (of the cheaper variety) is a much more common pairing to the Olivier!

2 Replies to “Russian “Olivier” Salad”

  1. In Argentina we call it “russian salad” and its a MUST for Xmas and NYE for some reason. We love it!

    1. Really? I honestly did not know. Must have been some poor Russian soul lost in Argentina, who insisted you should have it for Xmas and NY!… 🙂

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