Salat Olivie

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This classic creamy potato salad is a staple of the Russian feast table (especially on New Year’s Eve), and a great way of using up what’s left of your Christmas lunch. Indeed, its popularity in households throughout the Soviet Union was the versatility of its ingredients: stuff in tins, leftover meat or seafood, boiled carrots and potatoes… all bound together with gloriously gloopy mayonnaise. More like Salat Oh-live-Yeah!! (That’s how you pronounce it too, might I add!)

Ingredients

500g waxy potatoes
1 can (400g) peas (see tips)
300g Ham/chicken/turkey/crab/prawn (whatever’s left, really!) cubed
3-4 dill pickles, cubed
2 medium carrots
½ bunch dill, finely chopped (leaving some fronds for garnish)
6 eggs
½ cup whole egg Mayo (see tips)
Good pinch of ground white pepper

Method

Boil carrots and potatoes from cold until fork tender. Medium carrots will take around 15 minutes while spuds are more like 20-25. Allow to cool enough to touch, then peel the spuds with your hands. Now dice both carrots and potatoes with a nice sharp knife.

 

Dice ham, or whatever meat you’ve chosen to use. Seafood can be shredded instead.

 

Boil eggs from hot for 10 minutes to hard-boil. Run under cold water, then peel and dice.

 

Combine everything together, adding mayonnaise a couple of tablespoons at a time to incorporate until you’re happy with the level of creaminess. Sprinkle in white pepper and taste for seasoning in general.

Tips

If you’ve got a tin of peas in the pantry, great! Otherwise, you can blanch a cup of frozen peas and use those instead.

If you don’t have dill, parsley is acceptable.

Keep this vego by subbing in chopped button mushrooms or just leaving the meat and seafood out.

I know this seems like a lot of mayo, but remember that each person is only going to eat a little mound of it, so really, think of the mayo like glue. If you’d prefer to lighten up on the glue, you can go half and half with mayonnaise and olive or sunflower oil.

You’ll find dill pickles (not the vinegar ones) at continental delis and most supermarkets. If yours has a Kosher section, they’ll probably be there. Cornichons will also work – you just might need to add a little salt to the dressing to balance the flavours.

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