A very famous salad in Russia and in general throughout Eastern Europe is the Herring Under the Fur Coat (Selyodka Pod Shuboi) known more simply as “Shuba”.
The name derives from the fact that, by construction, the herring is covered in layers of other ingredients and looks almost as if it is inside a fur coat.
It is a dish that is made mainly for the holidays and in particular for the New Year.
250 gr of herring fillets
250 gr of Carrots
500 gr of Potatoes
4 hard boiled Eggs
500 gr Beetroot
Mayonnaise to taste
Salt to taste
Parsley leaves (for garnish) to taste
We boil both the potatoes, the carrots and the beetroot whole and they will be cooked when they can be crossed by the teeth of a fork. As a guideline, it will take at least half an hour (much more for the beet), however much depends on the size of the vegetables. When cooked, cool everything under cold water, peel and finely grate all the vegetables. In particular, let us remember that the beetroot must also be drained.
We separate the yolks from the whites, finely chop the latter and for the moment put the whole yolks aside.
We clean our herring (it would be better not smoked) and we get some fillets that will be subsequently cut into 1 cm cubes.
Slice the raw onion, obtaining small pieces that we will leave to marinate in a container together with water and vinegar (or water and lemon) for about twenty minutes.
With the help of a pastry ring or a circle for cakes (which can be opened) we compose our salad in layers.
Let’s start by using half of the potatoes to make up the first layer and, on top, lay the diced herring and onion. We cover everything with the remaining part of the potato. Each layer will be well distributed, flattened and leveled so that the edges at the end are well defined.
We salt and add a layer of mayonnaise on which we will lay the finely cut egg whites.
We make a layer with the carrots and cover them with more mayonnaise.
We finish the salad with the last layer represented by the beetroot and a little more mayonnaise.
Let it rest in the fridge for a couple of hours and, before serving, crumble the egg yolks over the beetroot (if we had done this before they would all be colored red). We garnish our shuba with some parsley leaves.
Variants and Curiosities
- If the herring is too salty, it can be desalted by immersing the cubes in milk for about fifteen minutes and then washing them under running water.
- The original recipe of shuba involves the use of herring … If we want to Italianise it a little we could use salmon or mackerel instead.
- In Italy it is not easy to find fresh beetroot. But in almost all supermarkets, if you look carefully, it will be possible to find the pre-cooked and vacuum-packed one.