Recently I’ve been fairly per-occupied with finding ways to encase eggs with beautiful and delicious titbits. My tribute to Easter if you like.
Now, the above is my version of the iconic, ubiquitous ‘Shuba’, or ‘Fur-clad herring’ salad. No celebratory Soviet table can do without the combo of cured herring, potatoes, eggs, onions, beetroot. And of course mayonnaise.
I’ve a soft spot for such Soviet dishes, the other obviously being the Olivier salad, Shnitzel a la france (myaso po-fransuzski), Napoleon cake. Most have something vaguely French about them, most gloriously bastardised by 70 years of centralized food distribution system.All adored and treasured by the great ex-USSR mass, me including.
Pod shuboj, literally herring under a fur-coat – no one knows why the dish is called this way – is the ultimate example of a dish that is not sophisticated, not delicate, it’s fact it’s stubbornly old-fashion in being all about mashed up ingredients and heavy mayonnaise. But boy I’m yet to meet a Russian – or any other nationality my husband would hungrily agree – that can resist a plate of shuba.
These dishes seem to carry a great sense of history, even authenticity. Like football they evoke such sense of national (yes, pan-national) pride that one can debate passionately the exact ingredients that go into them, but never really question. We put our fur-clad combo on a pedestal and swallow saliva dreamily at the approach of every bank holiday, or, what we used to call, ‘red days in the calender’, in anticipation of a large and gleaming dish of herring, fur-coat clad.
So it was with trepidation that, whilst trialing other Russo-Scotch egg variations, I came up with the idea of making my version of a Scotch egg by encasing it with a mixture of beetroot, onion, gherkins, capers, and, most importantly, herring and potato mash.
Gosh, isn’t it an amazing feeling to be so proud about creating our beloved Pod shuboj but in a take-away, compact, version.
Trust me, these little eggs have all the flavour of the most Russian ‘Fur-clad herring’ whilst looking, well, so British.
Raise a shot to our…
Scotch egg fur-coat clad, or herring and beetroot scotch egg
What you will need:
- 2 eggs, organic preferably (or 4-5 quail eggs)
- 2 small beetroots, boiled and then grated
- 1/2 garlic, grated
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 large potato, baked or boiled, cooled and mashed with a fork
- About 120-140g cured herring (preferably not in vinegar but salted, look for in Eastern-European shops), chopped
- 1/2 gherkin, chopped finely
- 1 tsp of capers, chopped if too chunky
- 1 tbsp dill, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp of flour
- 1 egg, whisked
- 3-4 tbsp punko breadcrubs
What to do
- Boil the egg to the desired consistency. Ideally so that they are still half runny inside, but in my version above they are hard boiled, which is fine too. Cool and peel.
- To make the beetroot mixture, fry gently the onion and garlic in butter or oil, add the beetroot and fry for another 5-10 mins until quite dry. the drier the better as the flavours becomes sweeter and easier to handle. Put aside in the fridge to cool.
- To make the potato mixture, mix the mashed potato with all the other ingredients, season to taste. The mixture should be fairly stiff and difficult to mix. Put in the fridge to firm up.
- Half an hour later (or even the following day), start the assembling process. Put some beetroot mixture in the palm of your hand, place the egg in the middle and shape the mixture around the egg carefully to form a ball.
- Then do the same with the potato and herring mixture. It takes a bit of a knack to make the shape all nice and balanced (in fact, the picture above shows that I didn’t distribute the mixture evenly.)
- Now, roll the egg in flour lightly, then the whisked egg and the breadcrumbs liberally. Cover with clingfilm and cool for at least an hour but best overnight.
- When ready to fry – you can deep fry or shallow fry, I did the former – heat the oil till the crumb of white bread browns easily within a minute or so (or sooner turn the heat down a bit) and place the eggs carefully into the hot oil. Fry for about 4-5 minutes.
- Eat with tartar sauce or mayonnaise with gherkins and dill.