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My books come from all over, and I relish the joy of collecting them, but much as I love bookshopping, those books that are given to me have a very special place in my heart, especially when they're given to me because a reader who has enjoyed a book of mine wants to share their pleasure in a book they own. Please to the Table, a book of Russian recipes long out of print, was sent to me by Heidi Trilling, David Allport and Anna (their daughter!) in 2003 and I couldn't have been more touched or more grateful. There are so many recipes in this huge compendium of a book so it was hard to choose just one, but here it is, Estonian Cod Salad with Horseradish Sauce.

by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman (Workman publishing, 1990)

Estonian Cod Salad with Horseradish Sauce: Salat iz Treski's Khrenom

This zesty fish salad makes a lovely luncheon entree. You can also try making it with haddock or halibut. Both the Slavs and the Balts have a weakness for poached fish dressed in a creamy horseradish sauce.



  • 2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup prepared horseradish, well drained
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellman's
  • Pinch of sugar
  • ¼ cup very finely chopped onion
  • 2 medium-size Kirby cucumbers, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and patted dry
  • Cornichons for garnish



  1. Place the cod fillets in a shallow enameled pan, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add ½ teaspoon salt, reduce the heat to low, and poach the fish until it just begins to flake, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Drain the fish thoroughly and place it in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the horseradish, sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, onion, cucumbers, and dill.  Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Toss the fish gently but thoroughly with this mixture, cover, and refridgerate for 45 minutes.
  4. Arrange on a bed of lettuce and serve garnished with cornichons.

Serves 4 as a light first course.