Her secret is so safe!

November 15, 2010


When our staff gets together for a social event, out toddler teacher (who is from Russia) brings this amazing salad that is so good I could eat the whole bowl in one sitting. I’ve asked her a couple of times what it is and how to make it, but she cleverly avoids my question by smiling secretively and saying, “It’s Russian salad. Just vegetables and dressing.”

Well, I knew that, but what is in that dressing??? The last time I had it, I went home and googled it. It’s called Salad Olivier and can be made many ways, but basically it’s a potato-heavy, multi-vegetable salad with a mayonnaise-based dressing. (One thing that I have learned from this experience is that I can never spell mayonnaise correctly on the first try.)

Zoya’s has finely diced potato, carrot, cucumber and peas for certain. There may have been other things, but I’ll need to do more analyzing. Other recipes include chopped hard-boiled egg, some kind of chopped meat, and diced ‘kosher dill pickle – the kind in salt brine, not vinegar’. (I can’t find that.) It’s the cucumbers that make this for me – I love the crunch!

Choppin' cukes.

I tried one batch of dressing with mayo, some vinegar and salt and pepper. When I told Zoya about it, she said, “No vinegar – just mayonnaise and sour cream.” Aha! I tried that for the next batch and it was not as good.

So here’s the deal. Zoya isn’t going to cough up her secret recipe, and I need help. My dressing is a little …… um, non-super-delicious. Please scout out somebody who knows how to make this and report back to me with information. I don’t have a picture of my finished batches, and I also know that any Royuk will be no help to me since they have severe mayo aversions. Brad, you can tell us a joke instead if you like.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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10 Responses to “Her secret is so safe!”

  1. Christina Said on:

    Sorry, I tried both Taste of Home and Epicurious and neither listed a salad olivier…..lots of olive stuff though!


  2. Brad Said on:

    Question: What did the mayonnaise say to the fridge?
    Answer: Close the door please. I’m dressing.



  3. Brad Said on:

    Are the potatoes raw? …because that would be an awesomely crunchy salad. Do you suppose there is such a thing as raw potato salad? Mmmm… I’m going to make some tonight.


    • Lauren Said on:

      Ha! The potatoes and the carrots are cooked, but not until mushy. They still have a bite to them. Some recipes have you throw whole potatoes (unpeeled), whole carrots (unpeeled) and an egg (unshelled) in a pot and boil for a while, then take things out to peel and dice. That seemed counter-productive to me. I diced first, then boiled, so it only took about 10 minutes. (Not the egg, though. I haven’t learned how to dice a raw egg yet.)


  4. Lauren's dad Said on:

    Ask Zoya if she ever uses turnips instead of potatoes in her salad to give it extra zing? (Some people despise turnips.)


  5. Kristi Said on:

    Try a bit of pickle juice. That’s what the RusCuisine website suggests.


  6. Rae Said on:

    I don’t have an answer, but I do have a question: If you figure this out, are you going to bring it to the next Sommerer reunion???


  7. Peggy Said on:

    Maybe you should take the salad to a forensics lab…they can always determine what’s in a person stomach down to the salt & pepper.

    (and between you & me, it annoys me when people aren’t willing to share recipes)


  8. Deborah Said on:

    “Between you and me” That’s funny! Welcome back, Peggy!


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