I can’t even begin to express how much I love Salad Olivieh. I love it soo sooo so much! It is our version of potato salad. What I find interesting is that Russians have a similar salad as well upon a conversation that I had with my adopted Russian mom Mela, whom I have talked about in the Pirashki post.
For me Salad Olivieh will forever be associated with my birthday because that’s when my grandma made it for me. So it safe to say that it was a special treat! Today happens to be my birthday, so I think it is the best day to feature this dish!!
The picture above is from my 10th birthday party. I feel the need to point out my childhood best friend in this picture. The adorable girlie with the biggest smile to my left is Yassi. We were best friends from 1st grade until 4th grade when I left Iran. We lost touch for about 20 years until she found me and we realized we both live in So Cal!
My Grandma used to always have birthday parties for me and fill the table with delicious food. As I said Salad Olivieh was a staple. She always decorated the top to make it pretty. Follow the arrows in the picture above for the two platters! Maman Fakhri was so awesome for so many reasons.
It’s pretty amazing that I love this salad as much as I do because, to be honest, I am not a fan of Mayo. Oh no, not me. I am the ” hold the mayo and mustard only” type of girl on my sandwiches. And here is the thing, Iranians love to make this salad with plenty of mayo. And the worst part of it all? They even like to spread the top of the salad with mayo.
But not me! I use a lot less mayo in my own salad. Now, I have to warn you that my Salad Olivieh is slightly different than the traditional one. While all the ingredients are the same, the way I make it’s slightly different in the sense that I have cut down the prep time considerably. This is a very time consuming dish to make and being an Aries, I can sometimes be inpatient. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about slow food movement and making everything from scratch, but between the cooking and cutting, this dish takes way too long. But thank God for my adopted Russian mom, she suggested a couple of shortcuts and I ran with them!
3 medium large potatoes, cooked
3 eggs, hard boiled
2 cups shredded chicken
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
19 oz can of Persian pickles
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp mustard
1/8 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
First short cut: pick your favorite roast chicken. My local Albertson’s makes a delicious Lemon Basil roast chicken. You can cook your own chicken from scratch, but the added flavor from the roast chicken is really good!
Removed bones and skin and shred chicken. Also give it a rough chop to make the pieces a bit smaller.
Small dice the eggs and pickles.
Dice the potatoes as well making them slightly bigger in size than the pickles and eggs.
Short cut two: Buy a bag of frozen peas and carrots. In the traditional Salad Olivieh the peas and carrots should be cooked. Mela informed me that the secret to a good Salad Olivieh is to not cook the peas. So I took this advice a step further and also saved the time spent on cutting the carrots. I just throw the peas and carrots in my salad raw, straight out of the bag.
Place all ingredients in a big mixing bowl.
In a different mixing bowl prepare the dressing by mixing mayo, mustard, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. I personally have a love affair with Dijon mustard, but you can use regular mustard too!
Mix ingredients and dressing well.
Taste and check seasoning. Cover and let rest in the fridge for a few hours allowing the flavors to come together.
Salad Olivieh is an excellent addition to your appetizers table, a great side dish, and a fantastic choice for a picnic. It is also delicious in a sandwich form, either with pita bread or French baguette!