My traditional New Year’s salad

I think that in every country and every family there is a traditional New Year’s menu.

In Russia, Olivier salad is not losing its leading position. People even formed an association: if Olivier is on the table, then we celebrate the New Year. There are many recipes for this salad. In every family it is delicious and unique.

The original version of the salad was invented in the 1860s by French cook Lucien Olivier, the chef of the Hermitage, one of Moscow’s restaurants. Olivier’s salad quickly became popular with Hermitage regulars, and became the restaurant’s signature dish. It is known that the salad contained grouse, veal tongue, caviar, lettuce, crayfish tails, capers, and smoked duck, although it is possible that the recipe was varied seasonally. The original Olivier dressing was a type of mayonnaise, made with French wine vinegar, mustard, and Provençal olive oil; its exact recipe, however, remains unknown.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Ivan Ivanov, a sous-chef of Olivier attempted to steal the salad’s recipe. Shortly after, Ivanov went to work as the chef at Moskva restaurant and began to serve a salad very similar to Olivier’s salad, but with the name Capital Salad (Stolichny).

The Hermitage restaurant was closed in 1905. The Olivier family’s left Russia. People started to call the salad as “Olivier.” Ivanov sold the recipe for the salad to various publishing houses, which further contributed to its popularization.

In post-revolutionary Russia, cheaper ingredients were substituted for the originals: grouse was replaced by chicken or sausage, crayfish by hard-boiled egg, cucumbers, olives and capers by pickled cucumbers and green peas. Today’s popular version of Olivier salad — containing boiled potatoes, dill pickles, peas, eggs, carrots, and boiled beef/chicken or bologna, dressed with mayonnaise.


Recipe: Ingredients

  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 carrot, or more to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 medium pickles, cut into cubes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can peas, drained
  • 1/2 cup cubed fully cooked ham, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or more to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Recipe: Instruction

  1. In a large pot, add potatoes and carrots. Cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and cook about 20-25 minutes or until a knife pierce through easily. (Don’t overcook. Remove carrots and potatoes from water, set aside to cool.)
  2. In a small pot add eggs, cover eggs will water and bring to a boil cook. Cook eggs 8-10 minutes. 
  3. Peel and Cube all of the ingredients. 
  4. Combine everything, mix.
  5. Add mayonnaise to taste. You may need a little more than 1 cup, depending on sizes of your ingredients. 
  6. Season with salt. Add fresh parsley(optional), mix.

Even though I live in the US I still cook Olivier for New Year’s celebration. All my friends and guests like it. So, I decided to share with the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I will be happy to be helpful.

Author: Elena

Hi, My name is Elena. I am Russian living in the US. My blog is about my life and experience. This is my new hobby. So, please, don't be too hard on me. Thanks

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