Even if you’re not a salad fan, this Russian Shuba salad, also known as Herring Under Fur Coat salad and Dressed Herring, will find a place in your heart…or I guess I should say your tummy! That’s because Russian salads are not what you might imagine a salad to be. And unfortunately when people think of salads, many times they’re thinking of a bland, dry diet food.
Russian salads commonly consist of boiled vegetables, hard boiled eggs, fresh chives, and lots of mayonnaise! Some Russian salads are vegetarian, such as the Vinegret. And some are very meaty indeed. The popular Russian salad Olivye also known as the Olivier salad, can be made vegetarian by simply omitting the Russian kolbasa or ham. Olivye- (Olivier Salad) Russian Potato Salad Recipe is my absolute favorite way to make it!
And in my Shuba (herring under fur coat salad) recipe, herring is the star. However I should note that when growing up, my parents used to prepare this dish sans herring. In fact as a kid, I didn’t even know that the classic version included herring at all. Which is all to say yet again, that any Russian salad can be vegetarian if that is your preference (and it will still be very tasty, I promise!)
This Shuba salad features boiled vegetables that have been grated to a delicate consistency; these veggies include carrots, potatoes, and beetroot. Grated hard boiled eggs are a must as well. Some folks like to add grated onion as well, and if that’s the case the onion is grated fresh.
To compose the salad, the pickled herring must be at the bottom of the dish. Then the grated vegetables and hard boiled eggs are layered one on top of the other, over the pickled herring. Between the layers, touches of salt, black pepper, and a few sprinkles of olive or sunflower oil are added.
Somewhere halfway through the layering, a nice bit of mayonnaise is applied over the salad, and then the veggie and egg layering continues. The top of the salad is covered in ruby red grated beetroot, spread over with mayonnaise creating a rich pinkish red hue, and topped with chopped fresh chives. The shuba salad is truly a sight to see, and it’s no wonder this Russian dish is served on many special occasions including New Year’s Eve. Interested in more classic Russian dishes served at parties? Check out the 5 traditional Russian dishes served on New Year’s Eve.
The Shuba salad reigns from Russia and is enjoyed by many throughout the former Soviet Union, specifically Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Kazakhstan. The cooking and preparation time from start to finish is relatively short and simple. Herring under fur coat salad is healthy, yet satisfying and a gorgeous zakuska to serve at a party.
What You Need:
1/2 lb pickled herring
4 russet potatoes
2 large beets
6 hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil
1/2 cup chopped or grated onion (optional)
First wash your vegetables. You don’t need to peel them prior to boiling so make sure you scrub the russet potatoes and wash the carrots and beets thoroughly. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add potatoes, carrots, and beets to the pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook vegetables until tender and easily pierced with a sharp knife. The carrots may be done faster than the potatoes and beetroot, so take them out first if necessary. Towards the end add eggs to boil as they take the shortest time.
I want to stress the importance of using russet potatoes for this Shuba salad. The reason russet potatoes are preferred for this dish is because they tend to hold together better than other potatoes and won’t turn to mush while grating. Not only will nearly grated potatoes look nicer but the taste and texture of the salad as a whole will be more delicious.
Remove vegetables and eggs and let cool to room temperature. Peel potato skins, carrots, and beetroot using knife or fingers, and remove shells from eggs.
￼￼Now for the pickled herring; you can purchase it in fillets or chopped and either option is perfect for this dish. Pickled herring typically comes in a jar or a sealed container, and is sometimes accompanied by onions, and always accompanied by oil. Arrange fillets or chopped pickled herring on the bottom of your serving plate.
Get ready to grate! Grate your vegetables onto the pickled herring in layers. Start with potato, then carrot, then eggs and beetroot. The point is to have a different flavor in each bite, and to achieve a beautiful presentation. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you go, and drizzle with a bit of olive or sunflower oil.
Halfway through, use about a tablespoon of mayonnaise and spread over top. Continue grating and layering the vegetables and eggs. Don’t forget to drizzle oil and season as you layer.
The top of the Shuba salad must be grated beetroot. Add remaining mayonnaise to top and spread evenly over entire salad, including the sides. What you’ll discover is a gorgeous ruby purple colored dish. Chop fresh chives and sprinkle the top. The contrast in colors is gorgeous.
Many Russians and Ukrainians like to decorate the top of the Shuba salad with various designs cut out from the hard boiled eggs or carrots. Flowers, stars, and other designs are commonly made to add even more aesthetic to the dish.
Herring under fur coat salad is seen as a zakuska or appetizer and typically enjoyed alongside a main course and/or meat dish. Though its brilliant enough to enjoy on its own, it is served cold and does pair magnificently with a hot main course. One of my favorite ways to eat this Shuba salad is with sliced rye bread with butter and topped with roe or caviar; perfect match!