If there is an appetiser that is loved all around the world, it has to be the classic Russian salad! This recipe is the absolute must for New Year's Eve celebration in Bulgaria. It is very easy to make, creamy, rich and tasty.
The current recipe is for a Bulgarian-style Russian salad: the way most local families prepare it at home. You will also find several variations popular in other countries, including vegetarian, so that you can adapt it to your taste and diet.
Originally the Russian salad, also known as Olivier salad, was invented in the 19th century in Russia by the Belgian chef Lucian Olivier. The first version, however, had little to do with the recipes that are popular nowadays. The special thing about the original was that the recipe of the dressing remained a secret.
The salad became popular after another chef who worked with Olivier, Ivan Ivanov, tried to steel the recipe. He sold it to several publishing houses in the country. But apparently the version Ivanov made was lacking something from the original. He also served a similar salad in restaurants he worked in, naming it Stolychny or Metropolitan salad.
In the next decades the recipe has been gradually modified to exclude rare and seasonal ingredients. Nowadays it is known around the world by few different names and with slight variations of ingredients.
What ingredients you need for this recipe
The current recipe is the Bulgarian version of Russian salad and it is pretty simple and yet delicious. The main ingredients are: potatoes, carrots, pickled gherkins, green peas, ham and mayonnaise. The ham, however can be skipped for a vegetarian version.
It is very easy to make this Simple Russian Salad. You just have to chop finely all vegetables and the ham and to mix them in a bowl together with the mayonnaise. That's all!
- In the Bulgarian version of the recipe the two main variations are with meat and vegetarian. Other than that in rare occasions the ham can be substituted by salami and the pickled gherkins - by other pickled vegetables.
- The classic Olivier salad, known around the world, contains in addition chopped onions, hard boiled eggs and dill.
- You can also find some versions of this dish named as Stolychni salad, containing also chicken meat, sausages and sour cream, mixed with the mayonnaise.
I personally love the Bulgarian Russian Salad as it is very simple and still satisfying. It goes wonderful on a piece of bread, especially in the winter. One of the best party appetisers ever!
Did you like this recipe? Let me know in the comments what you think about it!
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Simple Russian Salad
- 3 large potatoes
- 3 large carrots
- 4-5 pickled gherkins
- 7 oz/ 300 g ham
- 1 cup/ 130 g green peas drained from a can or frozen and thawed
- 7/8 cup/ 200 g mayonnaise
- Cook the potatoes and carrots in boiling water, until soft but firm. Let them cool until room temperature.
- Dice finely all the vegetables. Make sure the green peas are drained very well.
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Mix very well until the mayonnaise is distributed evenly all around.
- Serve the salad on a plate or in a bowl, with some bread or crackers aside.
- Vegetarian Russian Salad: skip the meat and optionally increase a bit the quantity of the other ingredients.
- If you want to diversify this salad, you can make a Classic Olivier by adding 5 eggs, 1 small onion, half fresh cucumber and sprinkle with dill.
- Another alternative is the Stolychni salad: similar to Olivier but with chicken, instead of ham. For this version you can also substitute 1/3 of the mayo with sour cream and add some finely chopped sausages.
- Keep the Russian Salad in airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days .
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