Russian salad and deviled eggs

by | Apr 19, 2024 | Vegetable dishes

Russian salad, known by several names such as “Olivier Salad” or “Ensalada Rusa” or “franciasaláta”, is a delicious comfort salad and side dish served on Holidays and family gatherings. Almost each Eastern European country has developed its local variation of this salad, but few core ingredients are common to them all: potatoes, carrots, pickles, peas and a mayonnaise-based dressing. 

Russian or Olivier salad was named after Lucien Olivier, who was the chef at the Hermitage Restaurant in Moscow in the 1860s. Olivier tried to reproduce the Parisian café culture in the restaurant, which was frequented by guests such as Tchaikovsky and Turgenev. The salad didn’t start as a salad, but as a cold dish, grouse meat, cucumbers, capers, green peas, potatoes, caviar and crabs, and a homemade egg-based sauce were served separately on a tray. The guests picked those foods for themselves, and they mixed it all up in their plates. Olivier noticed that, and served it that way later. The salad’s exact recipe went to Olivier’s grave with his death in 1883.

In the 1930s one of Olivier’s apprentices started serving the salad in a restaurant called Moscow under the name of Stolichni, but he omited the expensive and fancy ingredients, and added meat, carrots and pickled cucumbers. He kept the potatoes and green peas, but the dressing, due to the missing original recipe, was changed to mayonnaise. This recipe appeared in the first state-developed cookbook in the Soviet Union in 1939.

In Hungary the recipe of franciasaláta was first published in a cookbook written by Ilona Horváth in 1955, and soon became one of the most popular salads. Each family has its own franciasaláta version, there’s no standard recipe. Potatoes, green peas, carrots and gherkins form the basis of the salad, the dressing is a mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise. We usually don’t put ham in it, however, we add diced apples.

Russian salad is often served with deviled eggs (kaszinótojás). The eggs are boiled, cooled, shelled, and then sliced in half. The yolk is removed and mixed with other ingredients, such as mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and other spices and herbs. It is then blended into a smooth paste, which is used to fill the hollowed-out egg whites.

(Source: Telex)

Russian salad and deviled eggs
Russian salad and deviled eggs – Franciasaláta és kaszinótojás – photo: zserbo.com
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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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