The quintessential Russian New Year’s celebration salad is without doubt the famous Seledka pod Shuboĭ (Селедка под шубой), which literally translates to Herring Under a Fur Coat! This delicious salad is so very Russian. It has all the food things Russians love most festively arranged in a beautiful salad dish that is typically brought out for the traditional New Year’s Eve (Russia’s biggest holiday by far) family gatherings.
On the dinner table, this salad is a center piece attraction, and people either love it or hate it (though most Russians do love this beyond words). The name of the salad refers to the many big thick layers of vegetables and mayonnaise that surround the herring fish much like a big fur coat (a shuba), covers someone and keeps them comfy and warm.
If you have never tried this salad, you’re in for a treat. The textures and layers of flavors all roll beautifully into one another, with a pronounced salty tangy goodness coming from the cured herring that’s complimented be the creaminess of mayo, sweetness of beets and carrots & fluffiness of the potatoes. It’s a complete Russian flavor explosion in the mouth and it’s freakin wonderful!
The idea of herring is kinda scary for some Westerners, so if you want to try a tamed version (though herring is absolutely best), or maybe if there are no Eastern European markets in your vicinity to get real Russian Herring, a good version of the salad can be made with gravlax Salmon as well.
Now, get ready for a real Russian holiday treat, here are your step by step instructions for making classic “Herring Under a Fur Coat”:
"Селедка под шубой" Traditional Recipe
* Please try to use real Russian or Eastern European herring bought directly from a specialty store. Scandinavian or U.S./Canadian herring is made typically with a sweet sauce of some sort or sour cream, and just is not the same. If you cannot find Russian herring, consider using gravlax of Salmon instead.
METHOD FOR PREPARATION
1. Bring a large pot of water (filled 3/4 to top) to boil. Add 3 teaspoons of salt to season water.
2. Add unpeeled potatoes, carrots and eggs to the water and boil for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. *the reason for not peeling the veggies is to protect their texture and flavor. Eggs are boiled for longer than usual to make them easier to grate.
3.In a separate large pot, boil the beets (again unpeeled, and in salted water) for approx. 70 mins. or until fork tender. *adding the veggies only once the water starts boiling also protects their texture and flavor.
4. Peel the potatoes, beets, carrots and eggs. Grate each into its own separate bowl in order to keep colors and textures separate until the final layering process.
5. Finely dice the red onions and the herring fillet. You want the dice texture to be very similar to the grated texture of the veggies.
For more detailed instructions you can download our free pdf step by step instructions with full illustrations here: (click pdf icon)
(this is how your finished ingredient preparation should look)
6. Arrange all the ingredients in a glass salad bowl (or 10in spring form). Glass salad bowl should be approx 25cm (10in) in diameter.
Layering: (arrange all ingredients on top of each other in the following order)
*note- additional salt/seasoning is not necessary as the veggies were cooked in well seasoned water, and there is plenty of salt in both the mayo and the herring, so please do not add additional salt to the layers
2. Red Onion
6. Hard-boiled eggs
12. Garnish with dill/eggs/beets/carrots Let your imagination shine :)
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours so that the salad holds its shape.
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