Herring in an Overcoat (Herring Pie)

A resourceful and flavorful herring dish, straight from the shtetl.


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herring in an overcoat

This is another moment of shtetl brilliance. Amidst severe poverty, this festive-looking dish was concocted from the humblest ingredients.

For other herring variations, try these recipes for the classic herring and onions and forshmak.


2 nicely sized herrings, fillets separated
2 beets, peeled, grated, and boiled
1 large carrot, peeled, grated, and boiled
1 sour apple, peeled, cored, and cut into thin long pieces
3 medium onions, chopped small
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
4-5 potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled
lots of mayonnaise (you can use soy mayo if you're so health-conscious)

Categories: Entree, Ashkenazi, Eastern European, Fish,


Chop the herring fillets into small pieces and arrange half of the pieces as a dense layer in a large dish, so you cannot see the dish's bottom.

Over the herring, place a layer of onions (using about half), then a layer of potatoes, then layers of carrots, apple, and beets. Spread some mayonnaise on top.

Over the beets, layer the rest of the herring, then the remaining onions, then potatoes, carrots, apple, and beets.

Finally, add a generous dallop of mayonnaise and spread it over the 'pie.' Crumble the eggs, both yolks and whites, over the top, and refrigerate before serving.

Some people have been known to add layers of walnuts and prunes, but I personally have never tried that--experiment at your own risk.

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Jake Marmer

Jake Marmer is a poet and performer, living in New York City. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at CUNY Graduate Center. You can find more of his work at jakemarmer.wordpress.com.