Russian Salad Olivier

For a change, I thought I would blog about International cuisine again, and share a very nice simple salad I discovered quite recently.

This interesting salad, was reportedly first created by a Moscow based French Chef, in the mid 19th century.

For one reason or another it achieved notoriety, and has been adopted and adapted as a national favourite. Now it is one of the most well known and traditional of all the Russian winter salads, typically consumed on New Years Eve throughout Russia.

I first encountered this salad, rather bizarrely when on holiday in Malta, as the only restaurant where we could eat something half decent, happened to be Russian. So we had a an Italian from the UK, eating Russian food, in Malta. A very international affair. I couldn’t speak Russian, they couldn’t speak much English, or Italian, so we communicated via grunts, and finger pointing and this salad was amongst the delicious servings, I ended up with.

I almost immediately fell in love with it, and is now something we make a few times a year, and is excellent for spring or fall, as it is quite a hearty dish. We usually have it as an accompaniment to cold cut meats, but it could be made more substantial by throwing in some Farfalle pasta, and turning it into a meal. Although I am sure Russians would not approve of Pasta being thrown into their salad.

Essentially this salad is a combination of diced sausage (I like smoked), diced boiled potatoes, diced gherkin pickle, green peas (tinned are best) and diced hard boiled eggs. All of this is then bound together with a generous quantity of mayonnaise, served with a garnish of parsley, and slices of Gherkin.

Saying that though, I am aware there are variants which call for chicken breast in lieu of sausage, and black olives in lieu of slices of Gherkin, I haven’t tried these, but I am sure they are equally delicious.

INGREDIENTS:
(serves 4)

2 medium sized potatoes, cooked in skins, peeled, then diced
3 medium sized gherkins diced
4 medium sized eggs, hard-boiled
200g cooked sausage, diced, (alternatively use chicken)
200g cooked peas, (tinned are excellent for this salad)
4-5 tablespoons of mayonnaise.

METHOD:

-This really could not be easier, you basically just combine all of the ingredients together until well mixed, and then add the mayonnaise, and repeat. Taking care not to mash the eggs around to much.

SERVING SUGGESTION:

As can be seen below (in the almost half decent photo this time).

I just served this salad with a garnish of slices of Gherkin, and a sprig of Parsley (to eat, not just decorate). Alternatively you could scatter over diced scallion, or just black olives, or even a quartered egg.
Enjoy!

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