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Romanian/Russian Salata de Boeuf/Salat Olivje Recipe - Potato Salad

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Romanian Salata de Boeuf

Romanian Salata de Boeuf

© lumi_13 on Flickr.
Salata de Boeuf, literally "beef salad" is a traditional Romanian potato salad that sounds French but is actually of Russian origin, where is it known as Salad Olivier (Salat Olivjke). It was invented in the 1860s by Belgian chef Lucien Olivier who worked at the Hermitage museum in Russia. Originally made with beef, it is now made with whatever one has on hand -- chicken, turkey, ham, even hot dogs and the recipe varies from family to family and region to region. What remains constant is the use of potatoes and root vegetables, and everything is diced finely. It is often decorate elaborately with bits of vegetable and hard-cooked eggs. Decorated or not, it's a great-tasting salad that can be served as part of an appetizer spread or as a main course with crusty bread.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings Salata de Boeuf

Ingredients:

  • Salad:
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced small (or use beef, turkey, ham, hot dogs, etc.)
  • 1 cup peeled carrots, boiled and diced small
  • 1 cup peeled parsnips, boiled and diced small
  • 5 large hard-cooked eggs, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups diced pickles
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • Dressing:
  • 1 to 2 cups mayonnaise, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish:
  • Parsley
  • Olives
  • Reserved hard-cooked eggs
  • Reserved cooked vegetables

Preparation:

  1. Boil potatoes in their skins in salted water until fork tender. Remove from water and peel off the skin when they are cool enough to handle. Dice small and reserve.
     
  2. In a large bowl, add potatoes, chicken or other meat, carrots, parsnips, eggs, onion and celery. Squeeze the diced pickles lightly in a paper towel to remove some of their juice (otherwise the salad will be too watery) and add to the rest of the diced ingredients.
     
  3. Place frozen peas in a colander and run cold water over them to defrost. Drain completely, patting dry if necessary, and add to the other diced ingredients in the large bowl.
     
  4. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard and salt and pepper. Add to diced ingredients in large bowl and toss to completely cover.
     
  5. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl. Cover the entire top with a thin layer of mayonnaise but enough so no salad shows through. Decorate the top with reserved vegetables and hard-cooked eggs. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to serve chilled or serve immediately at room temperature.

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