Delicious TV: Dressed herring, the weirdest Russian dish

Today we’re making a legendary and one could say even notorious Russian dish: herring under a fur coat.

Incredible legends circulate about its origins.

According to one of them, the dish appeared in 1919 at the height of revolutionary debates. A chef at a small inn and tavern grabbed a herring (symbolizing the proletariat), added some potatoes (to symbolize the peasantry), a red beet (the color of both blood and the Bolsheviks’ flag) and French Provençal sauce and artfully placed all the ingredients on a dish. It was presented at the Bogomilov Tavern on New Year’s Eve 1919.

All of the tavern’s customers and guests ate this delicious delicacy with delight. As a result, they drank less and fought less. The dish was named in the standard Soviet style: an abbreviation. The Russian “Shovnizmu i Upadku – Boikot I Anafema” (roughly translating as “A Boycott and Anathema upon Chauvinism and Decline) resulted in the abbreviation ‘ShUBA’, the Russian word for ‘fur coat’.

Another version of the name’s origin focuses on more practical aspects. This salad calls for high-calorie vegetables, fatty herring, and mayonnaise to boot. In short, this isn’t a light salad made of fresh vegetables perfect for easy, breezy summer days. This is a hearty salad chock full of calories which is just what the body needs to stay warm in the winter. Basically, this salad, just like a fur coat, will get you through winter time.

Dressed herring is a mix of Ashkenazi cuisine from Eastern Europe (similar to dishes like Vorschmack and gefilte fish) with Baltic and Scandinavian culinary traditions (in which herring is combined with things that you wouldn’t image herring goes with at first), and Russian appetizers (like vinaigrette).

Here's how we make it:

salted herring - 500 gr
mayonnaise - 200 ml
beetroots - 2 pcs
potatoes - 3 pcs
carrot - 1 pc
onions - 1 pc
eggs - 2 pcs
green onion, dill, salt

1) You’ll have to boil some potatoes, carrots, and beets beforehand and grate them coarsely beforehand.

2) We slice the herring into strips and toss them into a bowl that’s neither too deep nor too shallow in order to keep everything from falling apart.

3) Cut an onion into fairly thin rings or semi-circles.

4) Now all we have to do is layout the first level of mayonnaise.

5) The next layer is made up of potatoes that we very carefully lay on top of the mayonnaise.

6) If you’re really in the mood for mayonnaise, feel free to add it after each layer. But we’re going to give the mayo a rest, so the next layer after the potatoes will be carrots. Now tamp everything down a little to add the final layers.

7) Beets come last. They’re what give this dish its wonderful purple color.  We’ll mix what’s left of the beets with the mayonnaise to get a more intense purple color.

8) If you think that the salad still doesn’t have enough cholesterol packed into it, you can sprinkle some grated eggs on it. Top the eggs off with some herbs to put the final touches.

You end up with a dish that’s not exactly the healthiest thing you can eat, but it looks so good and remains a popular dish on Russian tables to this day.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

More exciting stories and videos on Russia Beyond's Facebook page

This website uses cookies. Click here to find out more.

Accept cookies