This is my, more refined, variation of a dressed herring salad known as “Sel’d Pod Shuboi” (herring under a fur coat), which is very popular in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries of the former USSR. It is one of the traditional dishes served at many celebrations. The layered salad is composed of diced salted herring covered with layers of grated boiled vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beet roots), chopped onions, and mayonnaise. My version is also a layered salad but with festive ingredients; smoked salmon, avocados, cooked potatoes, crab lump meat, shallots or Vidalia onions and a simple but bright and delicious dressing, which moistens each layer. —Kukla
For the dressing
• 5 tablespoons avocado or olive Extra-Virgin oil
• 1 teaspoon good Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons honey
• 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
• White part of 4-5 scallions, chopped,
• 1 tablespoon of your favorite wine vinegar, I used red wine vinegar
• Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon or lime, divided
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 5-6 whole sprigs fresh cilantro plus about 1 tablespoon leaves for garnish
For the salad layers
• 2 medium red skin potatoes, boiled, peeled, cut in half and sliced
• 8 ounces best quality smocked salmon, cut in 1-inch slices
• 1 ripe large Hass avocado, cut in half, sliced crosswise and kept in lemon or lime juice until ready to assemble salad
• 7 ounces lump crab meat
• 2 medium shallots or 1/2 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
To make the dressing: In a bowl of a mini food processor combine mustard, honey, garlic, the white part of green onions, vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cilantro sprigs. Process until well blended; then slowly drizzle in oil.
For the salad layers
Cook potatoes, cool slightly, peel, slice and while they are still warm, place in a shallow dish in a single layer; then pour about half of the dressing over the top. This step will allow the potato slices absorb all flavors of the dressing.
To assemble the salad: layer 1/2 of each; crab meat, potatoes, shallots, avocado, salmon, and between layers about 1 scant tablespoon of remaining dressing and finely chopped the green tops of scallions.
Repeat the layering with the ingredients and dressing one more time. Garnish with cilantro leaves, a few rings of shallots and a sprinkling of zest.
Assemble salad approximately 30 minutes before serving; this step will allow the dressing penetrate all the ingredients and develop more flavor.