Russian salad, everyone eats it but few know the original recipe

Russian salad, everyone eats it but few know the original recipe

Who among us does not know the famous “Russian salad”? A dish used both as an appetizer and as a side dish, and which was very popular, especially in the eighties, when it could not be missing from Italian tables and buffets. Specifically, in our country, Russian salad is associated with the typical New Year’s Eve appetizer.

The name by which we all know it has convinced most people that this dish obviously has a Russian origin.

But few know the curious history of this dish. So let’s go to the discovery of the original recipe.

Russian salad (web photo)

The Russian salad is a cold dish, whose basic recipe combines potatoes, mixed vegetables and mayonnaise. As is often the case in the kitchen, reinterpretations of the original dish are not lacking. In Lithuania it is called White Salad, while in Denmark, Sweden and Norway even Italian Salad. But how many know its history and what is inside the original recipe?

The official version on the birth of the Russian salad sees it as the protagonist Lucian Oliver, a Belgian cook who worked in luxury Hermitage restaurant in Moscow. Here, in the second half of the 19th century, the chef experimented a salad that contains many ingredients including smoked duck, partridge breasts, shrimp tails, quail, covered in jam and mayonnaise with the addition of potatoes, truffles, eggs and pickles as decoration.

to make her olive salad (so called still today in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia), it seems that the cook has come to uses up to 100 different ingredients. Legend has it that once a guest, on the occasion of a banquet, mixed all the ingredients, spoiling Olivier’s careful presentation of the dish, who in annoyance then decided to serve his creation in the “messy” version. The image of today’s Russian salad.

Russian salad
Russian salad (web photo)

Variants of the Russian salad

The original recipe was changed. after the disappearance of the cook. Little by little, new ingredients were added, such as beef tongue, cucumbers, crab meat, capers and caviar, while the gelatin was eliminated. In the years of the Russian revolution, however, given the difficulty of finding the most expensive ingredients, chicken replaced partridges and carrots replaced crab. Canned peas were preferred over caviar and pickles. Outside the Russian borders, the salad was also adopted in Spain, but during the Franco years the name was changed to “la Castigliana”.

Although the most common version recognizes the birth of the Russian salad to chef Olivier, there are references to a probable “Italian hand”. In fact, it would seem that the court cook of the Savoy family, on the occasion of the visits of important Russian personalities to Italy, has created a mixed dish of vegetables amalgamated with cream. Hence the name Russian salad, to pay tribute to the illustrious guests.

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