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Rossolye (Estonian Vinaigrette with Herring and Beets)

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  • 3 teaspoons powdered mustard
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup sour cream


  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 2 large or 4 small boiled and peeled fresh beets, or canned beets, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 medium boiled potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 sour dill pickles, cut lengthwise into narrow strips, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide bits
  • 3 fillets of pickled herring, drained and cut into 1/4-inch dice.
  • 4 pounds of boiled beef, or cooked ham, veal, or lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 large tart red apples, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, cut into quarters


  • To make the dressing, combine the dry mustard with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar and stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water, or enough to make a thick paste. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Then stir in the sour cream and the remaining teaspoon of sugar. In a large mixing bowl, combine the finely chopped eggs, diced beets, potatoes, herring, meat, and apple.
  • Add sour cream dressing and toss together lightly but thoroughly until all ingredients are well moistened with the dressing.
  • Traditionally, rossolye is mounted high on a square or round serving plate, garnished with sliced hard-cooked eggs, and chilled. Serve as a first course or a part of the zakuska table.

Yields: 6 to 8 servings.

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