This popular Eastern European salad is most commonly eaten at New Year’s celebrations, but can often be found in grocery stores year round. Herring salad is often presented in a layered format, with the top layer being beetroot dyed mayonnaise.
This salad is very popular in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine, Latvia, and russia. However this salad is actually not Slavic at all – it originates in Sweden! Commonly known as herring under a fur coat, or shuba, a layered herring salad is something you are guaranteed to see on grandma’s holiday table.
While beets offer the showstopping color, the primary flavor is simply herring and mayonnaise. For this recipe you can use homemade mayonnaise or store-bought, but the one rule with Eastern European salads is don’t be shy with the mayo.
How To Make A Layered Herring Salad
A well made herring salad uses three different root vegetables along with the fish. Don’t worry about the measurements, as you can use more or less and the salad will still taste good. Note that this is called a herring salad since in Ukraine there is already a beetroot salad popular in the Carpathian region.
- 200 grams Marinated Herring – you can use more or less, it all depends on how much herring you want in the salad
- 3-4 Beets – boiled, peeled, and shredded
- 3 Potatoes – boiled, peeled, and shredded
- 1-2 Carrots – boiled, peeled, and shredded
- 1 cup Mayonnaise – or as much as needed
- Salt – to taste
- Black Pepper – to taste
Begin by chopping your herring into smaller pieces. You want to be able to get all the ingredients in one scoop, and the herring usually comes packed in large chunks (see pic above).
If you are making small, personal herring salads for your guests you can use ring molds to make many little salads. Otherwise just do this all in one large chafing dish like a casserole.
Build the layers from the bottom up. Herring, potato, mayo, carrots, mayo, beetroot, and a healthy smear of mayonnaise to top it off. Place the herring salad in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving, so the mayo has time to soak into all the cracks. You can also add the salt and pepper in between the layers when you add the mayonnaise, but be warned that marinated herring can already be quite salty.
Are you a fan of Ukrainian food? Check out my article about the most popular Ukrainian recipes from regions all over the country!
- 1 grater | for the root vegetables
- Ring Molds | optional, if you are doing fancier personal servings
- 200 grams Marinated Herring you can use more or less it all depends on how much herring you want in the salad
- 3-4 Beets boiled, peeled, and shredded
- 3 Potatoes boiled, peeled, and shredded
- 1-2 Carrots boiled, peeled, and shredded
- 1 cup Mayonnaise or as much as needed
- Salt to taste
- Black Pepper to taste
- Start by preparing all of your root vegetables. You can boil them all together in a large pot with the skin on. Then remove them, peel off the skin, and grate them using the large holes of a box grater. Note: you must boil with the skin on, or the beetroot will dye the potato and carrot completely purple.
- Remove your herring from the package and drain the liquid. Then use a knife to chop it into small pieces.
- In a large dish or individual ring molds, layer the salad. Place the herring on the bottom, followed by the potato, a layer of mayonnaise, the carrots, another layer of mayonnaise, the beetroot, and a last layer of mayonnaise. Place the dish or plates in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving, but best overnight.
- Optionally you can top the salad with crumbled boiled eggs or greens like parsley or dill.