Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Play with your food - deconstruction of the Olivier salad

I have missed the nouvelle cuisine and am not excited by molecular gastronomy, but I love to play with food all the same. This dish is a joke that only those who grew up in Russia would appreciate fully. Here I take the most common and mundane party dish, and re-work it in the style of nouvelle cuisine.

Olivier salad is a Russian potato salad that during the hungry Soviet past absolutely had to be served at any party. If it wasn't, the guests would ask where salad Olivier is, as if the dinner was impossible without it. The salad consists of a huge bowl filled with finely diced boiled potatoes, pickles, hard boiled eggs, canned peas, and either chicken meat left over from making a soup, or bologna or any cold meat. The salad is dressed flooded with en enormous amount of mayonnaise from a jar. It is the FOOD - heavy, filling, cheap.

So, here is my take on the classic:

Salad of potato with pickle and fresh small peas, balsamic truffle mayonnaise dressing
For 4 servings
1 chicken breast, marinated with herbes de provence and olive oil, then grilled and sliced
1 egg, boiled 9 minutes, cooled in ice water, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 gold potato, cooked, cooled, peeled and cut into round slices
2 small kosher pickles, julienned
1/2 cup fresh or frozen small green peas, cooked about 5 minutes and drained
small bunch of garlic chives

For the mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp black truffle oil
sugar, salt, pepper to taste

With a hand mixer in a bowl or in a food processor, break down the egg yolk, mix with the vinegars, then, mixing all the time, add the grapeseed oil a drop at a time. Mix in the EVOO and the truffle oil, adjust the seasoning. Put the mayonnaise into a squeeze bottle.
Squeeze a circle of the mayonnaise onto a plate, arrange the ingredients into a pyramid on top, decorate with ribbons of mayonnaise, scattered peas and chives.

The next time I'll be fooling around with this recipe, I'll replace the boiled potato with a little round potato flan made with an egg and sour cream, for better texture.

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