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Russian Salad: the History of Famous Olivier Recipe
August 31, 2018 10:33


The year 2018 marks the 155th anniversary of Olivier's popular recipe, celebrated all over the world as “Russian salad”. Having this tasty and hearty dish on the New Year's Eve dinner is a tribute to the age-old Russian tradition.
Perhaps none of the Russian holidays can go without this national recipe, in spite of the fact that this salad became popular nation-wide not before the 1960s-70s! In contrast to the widely held opinion, the modern Russian Salad (named "Olivier" in Russia) has little in common with the original recipe of this dish invented by the French chef Lucien Olivier.

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History of the Famous Russian Salad
This salad was invented in the 1860s by Lucien Olivier (1838-1883), a Moscow restaurateur, the owner of The Hermitage restaurant in Trubnaya Square. The building of the restaurant has been preserved. Located at the address 14, Petrovsky Boulevard, it presently houses a publishing house and a theater. Initially, the Frenchman did not invent a salad, but a dish called "Mayonnaise from Poultry". For this gourmet recipe, fillets of grouse and partridges were boiled, cut, and laid out on a dish alternately with jelly cubes of poultry broth. 
Boiled crayfish tails and veal tongue slices were placed next to these and flavoured with Provencal sauce. The center of the plate was decorated with cooked potatoes and marinated cornichons, decorated with slices of hard-boiled eggs. According to the chef, the central "hill" was not intended for food, but purely for aesthetic purpose, as a decor element.
However, very soon Lucien Olivier saw that his intricately decorated dainty of "Mayonnaisefrom Poultry" was immediately mixed with a spoon by lots of Russian ignoramuses who enjoyed eating this mixture. The French chef was horrified, but next day he demonstratively mixed all the ingredients together and abundantly flavoured with mayonnaise. That got to be a massive success!
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 Original Recipe of Russian Salad "Olivier" in the Modern Context:
1) fillet of two boiled hazel grouses,

2) one boiled veal tongue,
3) 100 gram of black caviar,
 4) 200 gram of fresh lettuce,
5) 25 boiled crayfish or 1 large boiled lobster (can be replaced with canned lobster),
6) half-jar of little cucumber pickles,
7) half-can of soy with soy sauce,
8) two raw cucumbers,
9) 100 grams of capers,
10) 5 hard-boiled large eggs, finely chopped.
The salad dressing: homemade Provencal mayonnaise from 400 grams of refined olive oil, 3-4 egg yolks, a little vinegar and mustard, sugar and salt to taste.

The Soviet Olivier Salad
After the October Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War with subsequent famine and destruction, the Russian cuisine became ancient history in Soviet Russia.
However, a simplified recipe of Olivier Salad was made up among impoverished Russian immigrants who had fled abroad after the Revolution of 1917. This simple "emigrant" Russian Salad returned to the USSR from France after the Second World War in the course of expanding diplomatic contacts with Europe.
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Recipe of the Soviet Russian Salad
Serves 6 to 7 persons:
• 1 boiled chicken breast fillet or 200 grams of boiled beef,
• 400 g of potatoes boiled in jackets and skinned,
• 2 medium pickled or salted cucumbers,
• 1 cup of canned green peas,
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped,
• 2 hard boiled eggs,
• 6 large black olives,
• 8 sprigs of parsley.
Cut all the ingredients and mix together with 200 g of mayonnaise. 

 

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Read More Articles about Russian Cuisine 
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Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Cuisine Recipes of Russian Dishes Russian History Gourmet Tours  

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