Reportedly invented by a Moscow chef named Olivier, this popular Russian potato salad eventually made its way down to home cooks, evolving into its current form: boiled vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and peas, stirred through with chopped pickles and eggs, and bound together by mayonnaise.
Note: Though my family boils the potatoes and carrots first before peeling them with a pairing knife, you could certainly peel them first with a vegetable peeler before boiling. —Alexandra Shytsman
1 hour 15 minutes
6 to 8
large russet potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed
medium carrots (about 3/4 pound), scrubbed
Fine sea salt, to taste
small kosher dill pickles, cut into pea-sized dice
Place the potatoes and carrots in a large pot. Add a generous pinch of salt and enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Cover tightly with a lid and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the carrots can be pierced easily with a knife, but are not too soft, about 15 minutes. Lift the carrots out of the pot and set aside to cool. Continue cooking the potatoes until they can also be pierced with a knife, 5 to 10 minutes more, being careful not to overcook. Lift out the potatoes and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, place the eggs in a medium pot and add enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Cover tightly with a lid and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for exactly 10 minutes, making sure to keep the water at a constant gentle boil. Carefully drain the eggs and refill the pot with cold running water. Let stand until the eggs are completely cooled.
When the potatoes and carrots are completely cooled, peel them with a paring knife. (To make it easier to peel the carrots, cut each carrot into 2 or 3 chunks. Then, cut 2 slits down the length of each chunk and carefully peel off the skin while keeping the flesh intact.) Cut the vegetables into pea-sized dice and add to a large bowl. Add the pickles.
Peel the eggs and cut into pea-sized dice, as well. Add to the other ingredients, along with the peas, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat everything evenly in the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.