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Ukrainian Dishes: Olivier Salad

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Ukrainians always prepare the Olivier (or “Olivje”) potato salad for various important occasions. It’s simply unimaginable to have a birthday party or a New Year’s Eve party without this famous dish.

Every family has a slightly different recipe of the Olivier salad, which is perfectly normal, given its importance. Preparing the Olivier salad is an art and even a small change in ingredients can yield a different taste.

A big advantage of this salad is that it doesn’t require many ingredients and the majority are rather simple and readily available in our homes. It’s also a great salad to serve for your kids and get them to eat their vegetables. Compared to a regular garden salad, my daughter definitely eats the Olivier salad better, especially if I put a lot of mayo dressing on it.

In terms of disadvantages, it does take some time to boil and cool off the vegetables and then cut everything. You need to make sure you allocate enough time for that (don’t start on this salad right before a party!).

Here is the recipe for the Olivier salad which our family has been using.

Ingredients for the Olivier Salad:

Potatoes: 3-4 (medium-sized)

Carrots: 1-2 large or 5-6 small ones

Peas: 1 can

Eggs: 4

Pickles: 3 (medium-sized)

Bologna: 300 g (if you don’t eat bologna, it can be replaced by boiled chicken. Our family prefers bologna, but chicken is another option. If you go with chicken, you’ll need to allocate time for boiling it).

Mayonnaise/sour cream: 200 g (whatever dressing you prefer)

Salad Olivier ingredients

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Prepare all the necessary ingredients.
  2. Hard boil eggs in a small pan (10 minutes) and boil the vegetables (potatoes and carrots) in a larger pan. This can be done simultaneously to speed things up. For best results, you should boil potatoes and carrots with skin on. Make sure they do not come out too soft.
  3. Once boiled, put the eggs, potatoes and carrots on the cutting board. Make sure you give them enough time to cool off before starting to cut them.
  4. While the vegetables and eggs are cooling off, you can start cutting bologna and pickles into small pieces and putting them into the large bowl.
  5. Add the peas to the mix.
  6. Once the eggs, carrots and potatoes feel cool, peel them and cut into small pieces. Add them to the mix. The salad is almost ready.

7. Final step: Mixing with mayonnaise and/or sour cream. Add more or less depending on your taste.

Note: If I am preparing a dish for the party, I mix the whole salad with mayonnaise and sour cream to cater to an average taste. But sometimes I prepare this salad for regular home consumption. In that case, I often just add mayonnaise/sour cream only to the portion which we are going to eat and tailor the amount of dressing to the taste of every family member. My daughter likes a lot of mayo, while I prefer just a little.

Bon Appetit! I hope you try making the Olivier salad for the New Year’s Eve and other important occasions.

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