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Russian Olivier Salad

For many decades now, it is impossible to imagine a party, whether in one of those fancy and expensive restaurants, whether at home or at one of those student parties без традиционного русского блюда – салат “Оливье (without the traditional Russian dish “Russian salad Olivier”).

Russian Olivier Salad


Изобрёл этот салат в 1860-е годы повар-француз Люсьен Оливье – владелец трактира “Эрмитаж” на Трубной площади. (This salad was created for the first time in the 1860s by French chef Lucien Olivier, the owner of the tavern “Hermitage”, on Trubnoy Square). The building is still there on Petrovky Boulevard, number 14, right at the corner with Neglinnoy. It is now the property of the Theatre of Contemporary Plays.

The story of this tavern is very interesting: в 1860-е годы было много не курильщиков, но любителей нюхательного табака (in the 1860s, there were many non-smokers, but people enjoyed to take a snuff). For special occasions, there was a particular snuff tobacco ground with different flavorings added to it.

It was prepared by будочники (until the middle of 19th century, a будочник was a policeman of low rank, assigned to keep order at street crossings in a small sentinel boot) among whom the most famous one had a small kiosk on Trubnoy Square and prepared the snuff according to his own recipe.

Among his clients were the well known French chef Olivier, who was said to be the only one who could prepare a real dinner and a rich Moscow merchant Jacob Pegov.

Встречаясь у будочника, они сговорились купить участок земли, где стояла будка и соседний с ней кабак и устроить здесь первоклассный ресторан. (Meeting at the kiosk, the two men agreed on buying the land where was standing the kiosk and a nearby pub, and to build a first class restaurant on the site).

The house was built in the mid-1860s, with a white-columned hall, individual rooms, sparkling mirrors, chandeliers, and palatial luxury decoration. The new institution was named “Tavern Hermitage Olivier”.

The main interest of the kitchen was a creation by the famous chef of a salad with a good unusual taste, the “salad Olivier”, which recipe was kept secret. After the death of Lucien Olivier, his employees continued to prepare the salad, but nevertheless, it was not the same as during Olivier’s life.

В жизни москвичей салат «Оливье» играет важную роль (Russian Salad Olivier plays an important role in the life of Muscovites): it is impossible to organize a festivity without it. It is particularly popular during New Year and Christmas.

The Russian salad Olivier recipe: boiled potatoes and carrot, boiled meat, pickles, apples, eggs, green peas, and greens. All the ingredients are finely sliced and mixed with mayonnaise. Unless you prefer to prepare it the old style like Olivier used to do, here’s what you need: grouse, veal tongue, pressed caviar, fresh salad, steamed crabs or lobster, pickles, soya Kabul, cucumbers, capers, boiled eggs. And of course, French mayonnaise.