Most of the Russians like it. May be it’s because this salad reminds of holidays, especially winter holidays, as Olivier is a must on a New Year’s table in Russia. Another reason is that it contains some of the most favorite products of Russian diet: potato, pickles, canned peas and mayonnaise of course.
Foreigners have less enthusiasm about this salad, as it seems strange to eat this mix of products drowning in mayonnaise. As well as they have the same attitude toward a range of Russian national dishes, e.g. dressed herring.
This is a modern recipe of Russian Salad in English:
- Boiled beef – 400 gm
- Canned peas – 1 can
- 5 boiled eggs
- 2 boiled carrots
- 3-4 boiled potatoes
- 3-4 pickled cucumbers
I must say that there are a lot of variations of this recipe. Every fine housewife has her own recipe. But this recipe has nothing to do with the original one, which was created by Lucien Olivier in 1860s. He had a restaurant in Moscow and held his recipe in secret, but the visitors of his restaurant and other fans of the salad could approximately restore the recipe after the cook’s death. The reason why the creation of Olivier was so popular is that the cook added to his salad the most beloved ingredients of men of those times. The salad included meat of hazel grouse, capers, crayfish tails and other expensive items, which were replaced by cheaper products in Soviet times.
Meanwhile in Soviet Russia, Russian potato salad gained widest popularity. It became the national dish. And the Olivier salad of our days is an invention of rather Soviet cooks and housewives, than Lucien Olivier. By the way, along with Olivier’s work of creating the miracle of Russian cuisine (even though Olivier was French), pure Russian cooks created their own version of Olivier – Stolichnyi salad (Capital Salad), which is still in today.
Outside Russia the Olivier Salad is known as Russian salad. It says a lot about our feelings toward this dish. Moreover we have created our own analog of the Big Mac index, which is the Olivier index, as it contains the most necessary products for population.