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Herring Salad, AKA Herring Under a Fur Coat

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Adjust Servings:
4 to 6 Herring fillet (Matjes) 2 or 3 whole fish
5 Potatoes
4 Carrot
5 Egg(s)
300 g of Beetroot
1 Red onion Medium onion
250 g of Mayonnaise
1 or 2 tbsp. of Extra Virgin olive oil
to taste Salt

Herring Salad, AKA Herring Under a Fur Coat

  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegetarian
  • 30 min
  • Serves 6
  • Medium




Herring Under a Fur Сoat was one of the pillars of the New Year table in the former Soviet Union. For many families, even now, it’s unthinkable to celebrate New Year’s Eve without this salad and Olivier salad. 🙂

But that’s not the point now. Let’s give a little thought to where this salad came from.

The USSR, being a young state on the scale of history, formed its cuisine mainly from a combination of cuisines belonging to the Soviet republics and borrowed dishes. Over time, they underwent a process of standardization and simplification, thanks to canteens and not a large variety of products, as well as popularization thanks to the Soviet film industry. 

While dishes of the Soviet republics were advertised in terms of their origin (e.g., Uzbek Pilaf), the origin and history of the borrowed dishes were suppressed. On the contrary, an artificial impression was created that these dishes were authentic to the Soviet Union. The Herring Under a Fur Coat is a prime example of this. The dish that has become a symbol, along with the Olivier salad, of the Soviet New Year’s table has a Scandinavian origin, which no one even thought about.

Honestly, I didn’t dig into the history of Soviet salads since I cook them very rarely. But then I started studying Scandinavian cuisine and went to Denmark and Sweden, where it naturally dawned on me that our Herring Under a Fur Coat was definitely from here. It was impossible not to feel and understand primordial combinations of salted herring, beets and other root vegetables in this region.

So yes, Herring Under a Fur Coat is a Scandinavian dish, where each country has some variation of its making. Initially, there was no mayonnaise in the salad. It came later, gaining general commercial popularity.

History is history, but today is December 31 and my mother-in-law is making the most delicious Herring Under a Fur Coat ever. So this is a family recipe, which means our rules, in case you are cooking it differently. 🙂

A few secrets from the author (mother-in-law):

  1. Herring shouldn’t be too salty. Abroad, the closest substitute is the Dutch Matjes herring.
  2. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on the herring.
  3. The onions shouldn’t be too spicy. If they are, pickle them beforehand.
  4. Root vegetables should be diced into small cubes, not grated. It makes the salad airy.
  5. Beets can be the first layer on the herring, making the fur coat lighter, or the last layer for a pink fur coat.
  6. Remember not to put too much mayonnaise. Not every layer is dabbed but as in the recipe.

Bon Appétit!

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Bake or cook the beets in any way you like and let them cool. It is better to do it in advance. Also, for simplicity, you can buy ready-boiled whole beets. Peel and cut them into small 3 to 4 mm cubes. Then put them in a separate bowl but don't mix.


Boil the potatoes and carrots in their skins, aka jackets, until soft. Let them cool. Peel and dice them into small 3 to 4 mm cubes. Then put them in separate bowls but don't mix.


Boil the eggs until they are hard-boiled. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Then, dice whites into small 4 to 5 mm cubes. Leave the yolks aside, as you will need them to decorate the salad.


Dice herring filets into small 7 to 8 mm cubes.
Then dice the onions very finely into 2 to 3 mm cubes.


On a flat dish, lay out the salad ingredients in layers:
1st layer is herring cubes
2nd layer is onions
Then drizzle a little olive oil over it.
3rd layer is potatoes
4th layer is carrots
Dab it with mayonnaise
5th layer is egg whites
6th layer is beets
Dab it thoroughly with mayonnaise without omissions
The 7th layer is decoration. Grate the egg yolk on a fine grater right on top of the salad. Also, you can decorate the top with pomegranate seeds.


Make all the layers, forming a flat mound according to the dish shape.
Place the ready salad into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. It will also store well for 2 to 3 days.
Bon Appetit!

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