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Olivier or Russian salad

Olivier or Russian salad

What foods should I try in Russia? What are some quintessential Russian dishes? All these questions arise when you come to Russia or just want to cook something really Russian. We want to tell you about the easiest Russian salad called Olivier salad.


The famous salad, essential for Russian traditional cuisine, known all over the world as Russian salad, and as Olivier salad in Russia, was created in Moscow a long time ago in the 19 century.

Russian salad

Olivier Salad history


30 years after the communist revolution its recipe has been lost and revived at the beginning of the 20th century. Since that time, Olivier salad became the central meal of any holiday in Russia, the symbol of the New Year feast. 


Legend has it that in the middle of the 19th century, the French chef of the trendy restaurant “Hermitage” (the building of the restaurant still exists in Moscow in Trubnaya square), Lucien Olivier, started to serve the meal, consisted of chopped boiled vegetables, grouse, crayfish, fresh cucumber (which in wintertime was substituted by pickled one) and souse mayonnaise. According to the French manner, the ingredients were served separately on a plate, but Russians preferred to mix them, which gave the idea to Olivier to create a new salad.     


The meal became so popular that it has got the name of the cooker: Olivier. Fairly speaking nobody knows the original recipe, as soon as Olivier kept it in a secret. 


That’s why after his death at the end of the 19th century, the salad has been no longer cooked until 1930 when it was repeated by Chief of the prominent restaurant in the hotel “Moscow”, Ermilin, who pretended to remember Olivier and ingredients. 

Olivier or Russian salad

The change of the recipe


But due to the frequent deficits of grouse and crayfish in Russia during the Soviet period, the recipe of Olivier salad was largely amended. First of all fowl and fish were substituted with boiled meat or kind of bologna sausage, being so popular in Russia. Now cookers make it even with chicken ham, some like to add frozen peas instead of canned ones. 

family cooking Russia

The modern Olivier salad recipe


This is the recipe of Olivier (Russian salad), which we cook now in Russia if you’d like to challenge yourself: 


Dice finely:

  • 3 boiled potato
  • 3 boiled carrot
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 5-6 pickled cucumbers 
  • 350g of Boiled meet or Bologna sausage 
  • Onion (if you like)


Then add:

  • Canned peas
  • Put everything in a large pot
  • Dress the salad with mayonnaise 
  • Season it with salt
  • For traditional decoration use boiled eggs with red caviar 



We invite you to make the salad in a good company of ExploRussia co-founder Olga and her small daughter. Join online tour Home-cooking class and feel yourself as if you are in a local Russian family house.

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  • Kathryn Tapp
    Posted at 22:08h, 19 May Reply

    I did enjoy making this Olivier Salad recipe in the company of ExploRussia co-founder Olga and her daughter. She was very cordial with us and

    knowledgable of Russian culture and about the recipe. What a fun time it was connecting with other women from New York and Texas, USA , and Itlay.

    Olga helped us feel comfortable enough to share our own experiences with cooking and how this Holiday recipe might be shared again in our own

    cultures. The experience was very well organized and pleasant to share together.

  • Olga Sitnik
    Posted at 14:37h, 22 May Reply

    Dear Kay,
    Thank you so much for your kind words! It was indeed fun time which we spend together. I believe cooking is a very nice beginning for a true cultural exchange. Your company and support were just great. I hope you and your family liked the salad 🙂

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