Salad Olivier 6.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Feb 10, 2014

Olympic Village visitors in Sochi are finding this traditional dish, sometimes called Russian salad, served at breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. The meaty, refreshing potato salad is most often made for holidays and special occasions. It is said to have been created by a chef named Olivier who ran a restaurant in 19th century Moscow.

The quail eggs and attention to evenly cut ingredients make this version from Mari Vanna in the District a bit more elegant. The recipe calls for a brand of Russian bologna that is pale pink and smooth and tastes slightly smoky; it is available at some area gourmet markets that carry Russian deli products. But a good-quality beef bologna makes a reasonable substitute.

The restaurant's chef makes his own pickles, which are spicy. Israeli pickles are the closest in flavor and crunch; they are available in kosher markets.

Make Ahead: The salad tastes best just after it's been assembled; it may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings; makes 6 cups

  • 1 large (12 ounces) russet potato, baked, peeled and cooled
  • One 8-ounce piece mild smoked bologna (see headnote; may substitute good-quality beef bologna)
  • 3 to 4 medium (8 ounces total) carrots, scrubbed, baked or boiled and cooled
  • 8 1/2 ounces spicy kosher pickles, preferably Israeli, whole or in spears (see headnote)
  • 7 ounces frozen green peas, blanched, drained and cooled (see NOTES)
  • 6 tablespoons regular or low-fat mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons regular or low-fat sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 9 hard-cooked quail eggs, for garnish (see NOTES)
  • Finely chopped parsley, for garnish


Cut the potato crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Stack the slices in two piles, then cut each into 1/2-inch cubes, transferring them to a mixing bowl as you work. Treat the bologna in the same manner. Trim the carrots, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces; transfer to the bowl. Cut the pickles into 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to the bowl.

Add the peas, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper; mix gently to coat and combine.

Cut each quail egg in half from top to bottom.

Transfer to a serving bowl, or divide among individual footed glass bowls. Garnish each portion with 2 or 3 quail egg halves. Sprinkle with the parsley; serve.

NOTES: To blanch the peas, cook them in a pot of boiling water over high heat for no more than 2 minutes, then drain and cool in an ice-water bath. Pat dry before using.

To hard-cook quail eggs, bring them to room temperature (either by letting them sit on the counter or by letting them sit in a bowl of lukewarm water for 15 minutes). Boil a small or medium saucepan of water over medium-high heat; use a slotted spoon to lower the eggs into the water. Cook for no more than 4 minutes, then drain and cool under running water. Peel once thoroughly cooled.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Azamat Zhanizakov, executive chef at Mari Vanna in downtown Washington.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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