This Russian/Ukrainian Potato Salad also known as Salat Olivye has always been one of my favorite ethnic salads. Olivier Potato Salad is a Slavic style mayo based potato salad. When I traveled to Russia as a young adult I loved ordering Olivier Salad at cafes. I loved the taste and it cost no more than 50 cents. That was a great deal for me as a student and a twenty-something year old trying to save my money for excursions in a foreign country. It's like a meal in itself, with potatoes and vegetables. Eating this potato salad with a side of piroshki (filled hand pies) or a bowl of borscht was a big treat for me and inexpensive. It's a great rich potato salad to enjoy at a holiday feast, summer gathering or just a party side as a different type of potato salad.
What is Olivier Salad?
Olivier salad is named after a Belgian chef in Moscow who created it in the 1860's at a restaurant called Hermitage. The original Olivier salad is nothing like the modern version. The original ingredients for Olivier salad were very expensive. This modern version of Olivier salad came to be in the Soviet era with cheaper ingredients and is more like a Russian potato salad. Today's version is more like the basic meat and potatoes type dish like a lot of Slavic (Russian & Ukrainian) cuisine. Here's a great little article about the salad's history.
Olivier Variations- Ukrainian or Russian Potato Salad
The Russian version of this potato salad is often made with chicken. I always prefer the ham steak version. Russian or Ukrainian cuisine is often hard to distinguish and there are slight variations depending on the home or restaurant. Every version of this potato salad has a meat of choice, potatoes, hard boiled eggs and peas. The variations are with onion, cucumbers and maybe added sour cream. The meat may also be bologna, but I'm not really a fan of that mystery meat...
I first enjoyed this Russian salad on my first overseas trip to the Soviet Union in 1991. This salad was also served in many cafes while I worked there in the 1990's & studied there in 2004. I loved all sorts of variations, some more than others, but all in all it's a very satisfying, filling and delicious side dish. I usually make this salad for my family around Easter or Christmas-time.
Give this creamy, delicious, satisfying Russian potato salad a try and let me know what you think! Priyatnogo Appetita! (Bon Appetit)