Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Olivier (pronounded o-liv-ee-ay) is a staple of any Russian New Year table. The original recipe was invented in the 1860’s by Lucien Olivier, the French chef of the Hermitage restaurant in Moscow. The exact original recipe is unknown, but it’s said to have contained grouse (a type of bird), veal tongue, caviar, lettuce, crayfish tails, capers, pickles, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs and possibly soy beans.

One of the Hermitage sous-chefs, Ivan Ivanov, secretly attempted to learn the recipe by observing Olivier. Soon after, Ivanov left to work for a rival restaurant called Moskva. There, he began to serve a suspiciously similar salad called “The Capital Salad” – although it was reported that the recipe was of a lower quality than Olivier’s and that it was missing something.

Ivanov eventually sold the recipe to various publishers. In 1905, the Hermitage restaurant closed and Chef Olivier left Russia. From then on, the salad could be referred to as “Olivier”.

One of the first printed recipes for the Olivier salad (1894) called for half a hazel grouse, two potatoes, one small cucumber (or a large cornichon), 3-4 lettuce leaves, 3 large crawfish tails, 1/4 cup cubed aspic, 1 teaspoon of capers and 3-5 olives and 1 1/2 tablespoon provencal dressing (mayonnaise).

Because many of the salad’s ingredients were rare, expensive, or seasonal, they were gradually replaced with cheaper and more common foods, until it evolved into today’s version.

If you try to Google “Olivier recipe”, you’ll notice that no two recipes are alike – everyone seems to have their own version. Meat or no meat… if there is meat, it may be either tongue, chicken or bologna… white onion, red onion, or green onion… straight mayonnaise or a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream… etc.

This was my first attempt at making the salad. Beware that my recipe makes A LOT! I started with a medium-sized bowl and quickly had to upgrade to a larger bowl.

Olivier (Russian Salad)
serves a lot!

1/2 lb. – 1lb. bologna
1 (15 oz.) can of sweet peas
3 medium-sized potatoes
4-5 medium-sized carrots
5 eggs
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of fresh dill
4-5 pickled dill cucumbers (pickled with salt, not vinegar)
ground black pepper

1. Boil the carrots and potatoes ahead of time and hard-boil the eggs; make sure they are cooled to room temperature before making the salad.

(A trick to boiling the potatoes is to quarter them and boil them with the skin ON – this will prevent them from turning to mush)

2.  Skin the boiled potatoes and dice them into small cubes. Add to a large bowl:

cubed boiled potatoes

3. Skin and dice the carrots into small cubes (about the same size as the potatoes); add them to the bowl. The goal is to keep everything to about the same size:

diced boiled carrots

4. Drain the can of peas and add the peas to the bowl:

canned sweet peas

5. Dice the eggs into small cubes and add them to the bowl:

diced hard-boiled eggs

6. Dice the pickles into small cubes and add them to the bowl:

cubed dill pickles

7. Dice the bologna into small cubes and add them to the bowl:

cubed bologna

8. Slice the green onions (tops and whites) and add them to the bowl:

sliced green onions

9. Chop the dill and add it to the bowl:

chopped dill

10. Season with salt and pepper and add the mayonnaise – no specific amounts here – just add them all to taste. Mix everything well.

finished salad

Enjoy – and Happy New Year 🙂

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I was way too anxious for Christmas last night, so Stas and I exchanged gifts 1 day early (we usually exchange them on Christmas Eve, before we head over to my parents’ house). I have him 2 casual button-down shirts, flannel pajama pants to match mine (I want to have matching pajamas on Christmas morning!), some small things for his trip to Everest, a big warm coat for Everest, and 2 t-shirts. Believe it or not, the t-shirts were my big special surprise gift to him...

During our honeymoon in New Zealand, Stas forgot some clothes at a hotel in Queenstown. One of the items was his Icarus Canopies t-shirt, given to him by the company when he bought his canopy (his “skydiving parachute”). Although he retired from skydiving earlier this year, I knew the shirt had special meaning to him. As soon as we got back to the States, I contacted the company via Facebook, told them about the lost t-shirt, and they sent me 2 new ones! Stas was very happily surprised when he opened them 🙂

My gifts were gift certificates (1 hour massage, Nordstrom, sushi, and a voucher for 1 week of not having to take care of the bunny), an infinity scarf from The Limited, a “Cute Overload” page-a-day calendar, and he paid to have my car serviced earlier this week 🙂

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we spend each Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. This year, my mom wasked me to bring 2 appetizers – the first was the butternut wontons, and the second is this salad.

This was my first time buying and cutting mangoes… and I didn’t do a great job at either. One of the mangoes was perfectly ripe, but I think the other 3 were a bit under-ripe (I’m hoping that with the cheese and prosciutto, no one will notice). To cut the mangoes, I used this site as a guide – but it was still tricky as hell!

Aside from that, the recipe was easy – only 4 ingredients and 1 step.

I haven’t tasted it yet, but it got great reviews on the Cooking Light site.

Prosciutto, Mango, and Parmesan Salad
from Cooking Light, December 1998

4  cups  coarsely chopped peeled mango (about 4 mangoes)
4  ounces  thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
3  ounces  shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4  to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently.

Serves 15

ready to serve

1 serving = 1 Weight Watchers point

Calories: 64
Fat: 2.3g (1.2g sat.)
Protein: 4g
Carbohydrate: 7.7g
Fiber: 0.7g

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Tonight’s main dish was leftover beef stew from Saturday’s big batch. Stas had been asking for it for awile, and I had been promising it for awhile.

I normally use McCormick’s Beef Stew packets and just add my own vegetables and pre-cut “beef stew cuts”. But this time, I wanted to challenge myself. (Plus, Market Basket didn’t have any of the beef stew packages!)

I used a recipe for “Hearty Beef Stew” from Cook’s Illustrated. Now I’ve never liked beef stew – whenever my mom made it growing up, she’d always cook a separate meal for me. But I tried some of Stas’ on Sunday and LOVED it – so I was actually really excited to have some tonight:

But that’s not what this post is about. (I’ll blog about the stew and how to make it the next time I make it.)

This post is about the side dish. I’m a big fan of vegetables, so I wanted something extra to eat with my beef stew. I normally just heat up some frozen broccoli in the microwave, but I wanted a change.

I normally make a variation of this salad for Stas, using full-fat sour cream and I add in tomatoes or radishes. Stas looooooves this salad. Why? Because it combines the 2 types of “Russian crack”: dill and sour cream!

Sour cream is something else that I didn’t think I liked until this past weekend. I used to love it on my baked potatoes as a kid, but over the years I’ve acquired an aversion to most full-fat dairy. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a tub of the fat-free variety to use in a recipe (which I never did). Not wanting it to go to waste, I opened it last night and mixed some in with my sauteed mushrooms… and it was yummy!

So tonight, I wanted to enjoy more of it! Hence, my salad…

Step 1: Gather all ingredients:

  • seedless cucumbers (I like the mini seedless cukes, but European cukes work just as well)
  • dill
  • salt
  • sour cream (fat-free or regular)
  • optional: tomatoes or radishes

Step 2: Cut cucumbers into tiny quarter-sized slices:

Step 3: Sprinkle with salt and chopped dill (amounts will vary by taste):

Step 4: Add a dollop or two (or the whole tub if you’re Russian) of sour cream:

Step 5: Mix and enjoy!

It was a strange side to go with the beef stew, but oddly enough I was craving both of them, and they were extremely satisfying 🙂

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