Thursday, January 21, 2010

Olivier

This is a recipe for the so-called "Salad Olivier", named after a famous French chef, who headed the famous Hermitage restaurant in St. Petersburg around 1860 (here's the wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucien_Olivier). Since then it entered the Russian diet as the sort of salad you make for special and festive occasions (birthdays, New Year's, etc). Anyhow, making it is time consuming, but it's always like a taste of home for me. I've introduced a number of my Canadian friends and family and coworkers to it, and just about everyone likes it (with one or two long-haired exceptions who will remain nameless). Here's the recipe as it was passed down to me by my ancestors. :)

Ingredients:
5 or 6 large potatoes
3 large carrots
5 eggs
500g jar of pickles (dill or garlic work best, and Vlasic's kosher pickles are also good for this)
1 can of sweet peas
500g of bologne (blue ribbon or all-beef works; you can also use 500g of steak, boiled beef tongue, ham, or boiled chicken)
mayonnaise
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh parsley
Salt
Olive oil or vegetable oil (optional)
White Vinegar (optional)
Grannysmith apples (optional)

Preparation:
Step 1: boil the potatoes and carrots, both with skin on. Hardboil the eggs.
Step 2: peel the potatoes and carrots, chop both into small cubes, the smaller the better. Same for the eggs. Combine in a large bowl.
Step 3: chop up all the pickles, combine with ingredients from Step 2. DO NOT drain the pickle juice in the jar, leave it aside.
Step 4: chop up the meat (bologne, steak, beef tongue, ham, or chicken), add to the rest of the ingredients.
Step 5: add all the sweat peas, and most of the sweetened water from the peas' can into the salad.
Step 6: add 4 to 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise to the salad, mix well.
Step 7: add some of the pickle juice (I would recommend maybe 3 tablespoons, but this is more to personal taste), and salt to taste. Mix well.
Step 8: Chop up fresh parsley (larger pieces) and garnish the salad. You're done! Enjoy. :)

Cooking time: approximately an hour
Preparation time: about an hour (there is a lot of fine chopping involved)

Optional:
You can substitute pickles for fresh cucumbers instead; in this case add just a bit of white vinegar instead of the pickle juice. Some other recipes also call for about a tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil - add at the same time as the mayonnaise. Finally, you can also add large slices of apples to the salad as well. For a vegetarian alternative, take out the meat, put in an extra egg, and a small fresh onion (finely diced).