“Selyodka Pod Shuboy” (Селедка под шубой) literally translates to Herring Under a Fur Coat or Shuba Salad (шуба) for short, is a much loved Russian meal especially popular during New Year celebrations. A Russian shuba is a warm winter fur coat worn in Russia for hundreds of years. A Shuba Salad consists of layered potato, herring, carrots, beets, lots of mayonnaise and grated egg which makes the dish look like it’s covering the herring by a fur coat (a bright purple one).
In North America, are used to celebrating Christmas as one of our biggest celebrations of the year. However in Russia, it’s the New Year that is the biggest celebration. I’m sure this is due to communist times as an atheist state, banning Christian Christmas celebrations, instead focussing on the New Year. Christmas in Russia follows the Julian calendar and is celebrated on the 7th of January.
New Years feasts always included Shuba Salad or Herring Under a Fur Coat, Beet Borscht, Piroshki, Kholodets, Olivye, Pelmeni and a popular honey type of cookie called Pryaniki. This is classic Russian food at it’s best!
You will either love Shuba Salad or Herring Under a Fur Coat, or you will hate it. The Russian climate is suited to growing root vegetables, and beet and potatoes feature heavily in our culture. Russians also have a love affair with mayonnaise, heading back to imperial Russian times. Shuba Salad or Herring Under a Fur Coat is a perfect marriage of ‘very Russian’ food tastes.
I have 3 layers of mayonnaise in this salad, some people prefer to have only 2 layers of mayo. I try to limit the use of mayonnaise, however don’t worry and be generous with your mayo quantities. My recipe really uses the minimum mayo when making Shuba salad of this size. I also add salt and pepper in the middle of the salad. Quite often Shuba Salad or Herring Under a Fur Coat seems under-salted to me, so don’t be afraid to add a solid teaspoon of seasoning.
The dill is optional as a garnish, however I think it’s adds more flavour and looks great. My last tip is to speed up the cooling time of the vegetables, simply put them into the freezer until they are cool. You can prepare the vegetables in advance and simply grate and layer your salad when ready.
Oh, and most recipes tell you to boil the vegetables unpeeled, then peel them after they are cooled. Have you ever tried to peel a soft carrot? I peel everything first, then boil them and achieve the same result. Save yourself some time and frustration!
I love Shuba Salad or Herring Under a Fur Coat, easier to make than it sounds. Everyone needs to try it at least once! Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- Herring fillets in oil (3-4 fillets about 400g)
- 3 large beets, peeled
- 3 large potatoes, peeled
- 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- ½ white onion, chopped (use less onion if you prefer)
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- salt and pepper
- dill to garnish, optional
- In a saucepan, boil the peeled potatoes and carrots for about 20 minutes, or until they are soft. Allow to cool and set aside.
- In a separate saucepan, boil the peeled beets for about 45 minutes until they are soft. The time will depend on the size of the beets. Allow to cool and set aside.
- Cook the eggs until they are hard boiled, for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool, peel, and set aside.
- Slice the herring fillets into small bite size pieces (cubed or diced). Set aside.
- Finely dice the white onion. Set aside. If you are using yellow onions which have a sharp bite, put them in boiling water for 2 minutes then strain before using. This will reduce the bite of the yellow onions.
- On a serving platter, springform pan or glass deep dish, start to layer your ingredients.
- Grate 1 peeled potato over the dish and evenly spread across the entire base.
- Add the finely chopped onion, spread evenly over the grated potato. Put the chopped herring evenly over the onions.
- Add a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, using the back of the spoon to thinly spread across the dish, pressing into the herring.
- Grate the remaining potatoes over the mayonnaise mixture and evenly layer across the dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Grate the carrots over the potatoes and lightly cover with another layer of mayonnaise.
- Finally, grate the beets evenly spread over the carrot mayo layer, and cover with the remaining mayonnaise.
- Grate the eggs over the entire Shuba salad. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve. Best prepared the day before serving, but allow at least 3 hours in the fridge so the entire salad has had time to chill.
- Garnish with chopped dill before serving.