Herring under a Fur Coat

Of course, I could not ignore a dish with such a freaky name! This is not my sick imagination, but another actual staple of any Russian celebration. It does take fucking time to prepare, but it is totally worth it. That is, if you like fish. Especially herring. Especially salted herring.

There is also a very subtle linguistic twist in the name – the herring is not IN the coat, it is UNDER it.  This is not a wrap-around dish, and the perverts among us can immediately start picturing a beautiful succulent fish, languidly sprawling under a lush fur coat, ready to be devoured by lusting eyes.  Whatever.  It’s fucking delicious – take my word for it.

Just like with Olivier, the resulting product will easily feed a group of 10, or a small family for a couple of days.  It is usually prepared a day before, kept in a fridge overnight, and then devoured over the New Year/Christmas holidays.  You eat the herring (or simply “The Fur Coat”, as it is often referred to by those in the know) in small pieces, enjoying every bite, and then coming back for more.

There are also numerous versions of Herring under a Fur Coat circulating around.  I’ve seen them with apples instead of potatoes, with jellied or even pureed herring (I want to puke right now!), but these are all perversions that need to be avoided.  Here is a classic beauty of a recipe, with all the easy, tried and tested ingredients.


Even though we don’t need much of each ingredient, the resulting dish would be quite big.  If you want to try the impossible and make just “a little bit” of Herring under a Fur Coat – dare to half them!

  • 250 gr Matjes herring fillets (in oil or without, but as virgin as possible – no fucked up dill, cream, or other additives).  Also, read the pack carefully – you DO NOT need pickled herrings, they will make your dish taste disgusting!  Mildly salted is what you need to go for!
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, boiled in skins
  • 1 big carrot, boiled in skin
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 medium-sized beetroots (you can be my guest and boil the fucker yourself [will take you about a full day], or be a lazy bastard and buy the already boiled whole one in the store.  Make sure it is NOT fucking pickled!
  • ½ lemon
  • mayonnaise (best get one in a tube or a plastic bag that you can squeeze it out of, not in a fucking glass jar)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Start the day before. 

If you have an artistic gene, this dish will allow it to flourish.  For the best visual results, make sure that the layers you will be creating are clearly visible from the sides.  If you are lazy, and have one of those cake forms that you can take out afterwards – this will save you the stress.  If you don’t have anything – just be fucking careful, when putting ingredients on top of one another.  Good luck!

  • Boil potatoes, carrot and eggs, let them cool the fuck down, and only then peel.  Drain the herring fillets from oil or whatever they came in.
  • Chop the fillets into small cubes, chop the onion the same way, mix that shit up in a small bowl, squeeze half a lemon onto it, mix again, and set the fuck aside.  It’s time will come soon!
  • Find flat dish for assembling your Herring under a Fur Coat, and start layering this shit down.
  • Unlike with Olivier, you will not need to be doing a lot of chopping – this recipe is for lazy fuckers!  Grate the 2 potatoes on a grater, and gently spread out on the plate.  Do NOT pat it down – leave the potatoes fluffy!  Sprinkle with a little bit of salt (you did not salt it while cooking), and then put a thin layer of mayonnaise over it.  Again, do NOT smother the mayonnaise or pat it down – the best is to just squeeze some around from a tube, or use one of those icing piping bags, if you did not read the list of ingredients carefully, and bought mayo in a jar.
  • Next goes a layer of herring mixed with onions.  Spread that shit around over the potato layer, and cover with a thin layer of mayo.
  • Grate the boiled eggs on a grater, and spread over the herring mix, creating the next layer of your Herring under a Fur Coat.   Do NOT pat down, leave the eggs layer fluffy, but make sure it covers the previous fish layer.  Cover the eggs with a thin layer (or a fish-net design) or mayonnaise.
  • Grate the carrots, and make the next layer, covering the eggs without patting anything down.  All the layers need to be fluffy and breathable, to allow for the dish to soak in the mayo, and reach the required consistency.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt, and cover with a slightly thicker layer of mayo.
  • Last layer – beetroot!  Grate that shit, and lay over the carrots, covering the previous layer completely.  Cover with a thick layer of mayonnaise.  This time, don’t fucking bother about fluffiness; you can smother that shit around with the back of a tablespoon.  Make sure the beetroot is completely covered.
  • Leave the dish alone for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
  • Then put it away in a fridge (do not cover!), and let it sit there overnight, absorbing the juicy goodness of mayo that you so generously put in.


You cut the Herring under a Fur Coat like a cake, serving it in squares of about 5-7cm x 5-7cm.  If you want more than one – don’t be shy.  The dish can happily sit in the fridge a couple of days until eaten.

Two servings of Herring under a Fur Coat

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