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Although I’ve spent most of my life living in America, I was actually born and raised in Moscow. As a result, I’ve grown up eating (and still do eat) a ton of Russian food. A lot of my friends have asked me before: what exactly is Russian food? Vodka and caviar? Well, almost.

A lot of the cuisine is based on foods that come directly from the land: the ones that were able to withstand the long and cold Russian winters. Bread, fish, mushrooms, dairy, beef and pork and vegetables (especially cabbage, onions, beets and potatoes) are found in a lot of traditional Russian dishes. Mainly, we love our warm soups, our pirozhki (small stuffed rolls) and our sour cream.

Getting back to the point, I eat a lot of Russian food. It’s always hearty, filling and every bite makes you feel at home. Even though Russian servings sizes are typically very generous (with not a dollop of sour cream going to waste), my family and I have been lightening up some of our ingredients to stay on the healthy side. In no way are the dishes less delicious, they are just a little bit more well-behaved!

Here is my first Russian recipe that I have to share. So, let’s take a break from Paris for a moment and simply revel in this delicious Olivier salad.

Olivier Salad (Oливье)

Ingredients

3 large potatoes, cooked
5 baby carrots, cooked
1 pickle
2 eggs
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 fresh cucumber
1/2 cup sweet peas
1 pound medium-sized cocktail shrimp
2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons non-fat Green yogurt
salt and seasoning, to taste

Directions

1. Cook your eggs (Boil for 15 minutes in a pot and then place in cold water for 5 minutes).
2. Finely dice your cucumber, carrots, pickle, onion and potatoes. Mix in a bowl and add in the shrimp.
3. Once your eggs have cooked, take off their shell and thinly dice them. Add them to the other ingredients.
4. Salt and season the salad and mix in the mayonnaise and yogurt.

This is a very popular dish that is served all the time, from family dinners to casual get-togethers to New Years Eve parties. Traditionally, it’s made with ham (not shrimp) and a lot more mayonnaise (obviously, without the yogurt).

I hope you like it as much as I do!

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