French chef Lucien Olivier (who was actually a Francophone Belgian Walloon), who owned the Hermitage Restaurant in downtown Moscow‘s Trubnaya Ploshchad, invented the popular recipe in the mid-19th century. Alas, the “traditional” recipe isn’t the one known as Salat Olivier in colloquial Russian usage. In modern times, usually, it refers to a chilled salad of diced boiled vegetables (potatoes and carrots, but NEVER beets), diced dill pickles, diced hardcooked eggs (usually, the whites are diced and the yolks mashed and added to the sauce), diced ham, and baby peas bound in mayonnaise. This was a staple of Soviet holiday dinners, especially at New Year’s (along with Soviet Champagne and tangerines). Today, although more-exotic foods are widely available in Russia, its popularity has hardly diminished. This salad was, and probably always will be, the most traditional dish for Russian home New Year’s celebrations.
28 December 2012