Saturday, June 19, 2010

Olivie - Russian Potato Salad

There are days that I crave Russian food.  I don't know why it happens or what triggers it, but there are days when I will be sitting around, doing what I usually do, when I start thinking about Russian food.  I start craving Russian Apple Pie, Olivie, Crepes.

Back in college, I would just drive to my parents' house for the weekend and raid their refrigerator.  These days I can't do that so freely and I think my parents now have a life since we've moved out.  So I have to rely on myself to provide this Russian food.

I should preface this recipe by letting you know that I adore American potato salad as much as the next Joe Shmoe, but sometimes it just doesn't do it for me.  The Russian version, widely known as Olivie, has just a bit more to it.   Sure it has your basics like potatoes, eggs, and mayo.  But it also has cucumbers, carrots, peas, scallions, pickles, and, if you choose, some chicken or shrimp.  You're just going to have to trust me- it's delicious.

Here is what you'll need:
  • 1/2-1 can of green peas
  • 2-3 medium size potatoes - Russet are the best ones to use
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 pickle
  • Scallions (2-3 should be plenty)
  • Mayo (2-4 table spoons)
  • Chicken - 2 pieces if you want it
  • Shrimp - a couple of handfuls if you want it
  • Salt + Pepper
  • My specialty: cayenne pepper, Red pepper flakes, paprika
Start by boiling the potatoes, eggs, and carrots.

They all need differnt amount of time to boil, but feel free to throw them in together and then just take out the stuff that's finished.  The eggs should take about 12-15 minutes.  Same with the carrots.  The potatoes on the other hand might take 20-30 depending on how large they are or what type you use.  You can test them all by inserting a knife - it should go through pretty easily, without being mushy.

Once everything is cooked, you'll want to let it sit a little while so it cools off.  Or if you're impatient like I am, just throw some cold water over them for about 10-15 minutes.

Now here comes the worst part - you have to peal everything.  Since it's boiled, this should be relatively easy, but still a pain.

once it's pealed, you can cut everything up into small, even squares.

This is the trick to Olivie - everything has to be about the same size.

I also love it when everything has about the same texture, so I peal pretty much everything.

Including cucumbers.  Then cut everything else - cucumbers, pickles, peas, chicken (if you choose to - I usually don't), and scallions.

There, that looks perfect.  Now just add a bit of mayo.

Salt, pepper, and my specialty:

Be careful with the spices.  You only want a tiny pinch of each to add a bit of a zing rather than overwhelm your taste buds.

Now mix everything together and stick in the fridge for a little bit to chill.


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