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)
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Olivier Russian/Ukrainian Potato Salad (Salat Olivye)
- 1.5 lb potato peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes ( I use russet usually)
- 1/2 lb carrots about 3 medium carrots. Cut into 1/8" cubes
- 1 lb Ham steak trimmed and cubed into 1/4" cubes
- 5 hard boiled eggs chopped
- 3/4 cup dill pickles diced into 1/8" cubes
- 1/2 lb frozen sweet peas thawed
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped (or 1 Tbsp dried dill)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- *Optional- About 1/4 cup chopped green onion. I do not always add it. I base it on who I know is eating it.
- Place peeled and cut potatoes and carrots into a medium pot of water, covering the vegetables and boil for 12-15 minutes, till a sharp knife easily pierces the potatoes. Be careful not to overcook, you don't want the potatoes to fall apart.
- While the vegetables are cooking, start hard boiling your eggs and chopping the rest of the ingredients if you haven't yet.
- After the potatoes and carrots are done, immediately drain them into a colander and rinse them with the coldest water until it's well cooled to stop the cooking.
- In a small bowl add your mayonnaise, chopped dill, salt and pepper and stir till well combined.
- Scrape every bit of your mayonnaise mixture into your large mixing bowl and gently stir all of the ingredients just until well combined.
- Chill the potato salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and then enjoy!
- To refresh the salad before serving I like to drizzle a little olive oil on the salad and stir. It just livens it up and refreshes the salad. Also check to make sure it's salted enough and adjust if need be.
- Ensalada Rusa (Spanish)
- Olivier Salad
- Salat Olivye