Russian salad: the origin of one of the most loved appetizers ever

When you think of appetizers, thesalad Russian is the first dish that comes to mind. This is even more true during the Christmas party banquets. Almost always on festively decorated tables there is a beautiful bowl filled with this mix of mayonnaise and vegetables. For recipe lovers it is really difficult not to overdo the portions. And, between one crouton and another, doubts often arise in the minds of the diners: but it is called that because is it from Russia? Here’s what is theorigin of this appetizer.

The origin of the Russian salad

There are various theories on the question of the origin of Russian salad. The official version of the story ofsalad Russian door right in the country that was of the czars. The paternity of the famous cold dish is of Lucian Oliviercuoco russo of Belgian origin who opened a French cuisine restaurant, adapted to the tastes of the citizens Russians, in Moscow. L’Hermitage – this is the name of the prestigious venue – he inaugurated in 1964 and remained open until 1917, the year of the Revolution Russian.

To amaze his wealthy guests, including many Muscovite oligarchs, Olivier decided to experiment and pastiche of partridge breasts, quails and shrimp tails covered with jelly and mayonnaise (little known in Russia at the time) accompanied, for decorative purposes, by potatoes, truffles, pickles and hard-boiled eggs. A list of ingredients very different from those we know. But neat and elegant plating of the chef was trivialized by the diners, who mixed everything during the meal. Olivier, very proud, was offended and as a provocation he started serving the “messy” version of the dish. It was this that spread throughout Moscow.

How the recipe has changed

The recipe, jealously guarded by the cook, soon spread. It is said that one of her former employees went to work in another restaurant, revealing her to the new boss. He began serving it under the name salad of the capital“. The result, however, was not the same, especially due to the ingredients used. Olivier chose refined products, mostly French (wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil from Provence). With his death and the Revolution Russian (1917) the recipe began to undergo changes.

They were introduced veal tongue and cucumbers, then caviar, capers e the crabmeat. The jelly, however, was eliminated. With the Revolution, more expensive ingredients became scarce. Thus took hold of thesalad of the capital, which provided for the pollo instead of the partridges and the grated carrots instead of crab. THE canned peas instead they replaced caviar, capers and pickles.

Italian stories

Alongside this “official” version, there are others. Some even date back to the 16th century and are linked to Italy. Among these, the legend that when Good Sforzadaughter of the Duke of Milan, became queen of Poland (after her marriage to Sigismund I), her court cooks created a cold dish of mixed vegetables, which was later enriched with mayonnaise. An alternative hypothesis argues instead that, before arriving in Russia, l’salad Russian had spread in France in the time of Catherine de ‘Medici, moved to the transalpine country in 1533 with personal cooks. They would be the ones to introduce the recipe along with other patriotic dishes.

There is also another track that connects the flat to our country and passes through Piedmont. It existed here in the 19th century and’salad Russian (i.e. red), so called because it was made with the beets. According to some sources, the dish was proposed by a cook at the Savoy court, on the occasion of the Tsar’s visit to Italy, at the end of the 18th century. Along with carrots and potatoes, products grown in Russia, the panna in representation of the snow typical of the Eastern Country. The Tsar would like it so much that he took it home where he would be made famous.

Not everyone calls her salad Russian

Another version of the origin of the Russian salad reports that the name would not be linked to the geographical place of birth, but to the “service to Russian“, that is a type of meal in which the courses were all served together on the table. This concept of the “all together” could have been stolen to describe the “mess” of the Italian preparation.

Most likely it is the alleged ties with our country that have led the dish to establish itself under the name of salad Italian” in countries such as Germany, Denmark, Norway and Finland. In Lithuania, however, it is thesalad bianca”while in Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary they call it salad French”. And in Russia? There it bears the name of the one who is the official inventor, salad all Olivier”.

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