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January 2005 Issue
Olivie, A Taste of Russia
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

One of the benefits of living in the San Francisco Bay Area is that people have exposure to all types of cuisine, not only in restaurants, but among the people we live around and work with daily. I invited my friend Dave and his Russian wife Margarita for dinner a few weeks ago and Margarita insisted on bringing some original Russian dishes for us to try. So who am I to argue? I welcome the opportunity to try new cuisine.

One of the items that Margarita brought was a salad called Olivie. I found it to be quite good, and my son Greg couldn't seem to eat enough of it. Margarita prefers to use smoked ham in the salad and offered the suggestion that one can add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream as well. She doesn't do this because some people (Dave?) don't like sour cream. I happen to like sour cream.

Now, on to the recipe! Be well, and good eating!

Olivie This dish is very popular in Russia and neighboring countries. It is as popular as the common potato salad that we eat here in the US, but a more filling and flavorful because of the addition of meat. This recipe calls for smoked ham, but you can easily substitute cooked chicken, shrimp, crab, turkey or other types of meat as a variation. Vegetarians can leave the meat out of the recipe.
  • 3 cooked medium carrots, diced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 cooked medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 can of sweet peas (15-16 oz)
  • 3-4 medium pickled cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup smoked ham, diced
Scrub the carrots and potatoes, cut into chunks and boil until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes. After cooking, allow to cool and dice the carrots and potatoes long with the eggs, pickles and onion. You can substitute a favorite pickle relish as a shortcut instead of dicing pickles. Combine the vegetables in a bowl, add green peas, salt, mayonnaise, sour cream, and stir.
  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

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