There’s a Russian dish with the most intriguing name, which I’ve always wanted to try. “Herring under a fur coat” (“Shuba” in Russian) is a layered salad of beets, hard-boiled eggs, herring obviously, carrots, potatoes and is dressed — like other Russian salads — with mayonnaise.
So when I saw Jamie Geller’s recipe for “Chopped Salad à la Russe” in this week’s Passover Foods, I knew this would be the one for the IJN test kitchen. It’s not exactly “Shuba”; for one, the recipe includes kale and avocadoes, neither of which are staples of the Russian kitchen. Geller’s dressing is also more involved — and tantalizingly so. Instead of a simple mayo dressing, she incorporates horseradish, cider vinegar and buttermilk, three of my favorite ingredients.
“Shuba” is usually served as part of zakuski, the Russian version of mezze or appetizers, and this version would certainly fit the bill. Typically, zakuski are accompanied by shots of vodka, which, luckily can be found certified kosher for Passover!
Jamie Geller’s Chopped Salad a la Russ and Daughters, from IJN Passover Foods
Note to cooks: East Side Kosher is stocking kosher-for-Passover smoked mackerel; however, if you can find smoked trout or sable, it’s a better flavor profile for the salad. The only change we made to this recipe was serving the matzah on the side, as a cracker to hold the salad, rather than in the salad itself.
Please read our recipe notes carefully, as this salad can use some tweaking.
1 lb. smoked white fish, broken into big chunks
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into gorgeous wedges
2 ripe but firm avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced
1 honey crisp or other firm and sparkly flavored apple, cored and sliced (RMJ: Add the apple only if using a milder smoked fish, like trout. It didn’t match well with mackerel for example)
6 cups mixed sturdy greens, such as arugula, kale or romaine
2 medium red beets, roasted or boiled, peeled and diced
2 sheets matzah, broken into pieces
1 C buttermilk
2 heaping TB sour cream
2 scallions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. apple cider or white vinegar
2 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 TB mayonnaise
½ tsp. kosher salt (RMJ: add up to an addition ½ tsp. salt)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Shake buttermilk, sour cream, scallions, garlic, vinegar, horseradish, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a jar. Store leftover dressing in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pile white fish, eggs, avocados, apple, greens and matzah on a large cutting board and chop them all together. Pile diced beets on the bottom of the platter. Placed the chopped salad on top of beets. Drizzle buttermilk dressing and scatter pieces of matzo on top of salad. Pass extra dressing when serving.
RMJ: This salad might do better served like a nicoise, with each ingredient dressed and piled on its own, surrounded by wedges of hard-boiled egg.
Serves 8 for appetizer and 4 for main lunch.