Бутербродики со шпротами (Sprat Buterbrodi)

published Dec 28, 2021
Бутербродики со шпротами (Sprat Buterbrodi)
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Credit: Leela Cyd from the Kachka Cookbook

What I am about to share might start a family feud: I credit these little party-sized fish, egg, and mayo toasts to my aunt Asya — they’ve been a staple in her zakuski rotation for decades. This is known. My mother, as far back as I can remember, never made them. That is, until my mother noticed the gusto with which my now-husband-then-boyfriend enjoyed Asya’s buterbrodi (this was back when he was still new to the family, and everyone was trying to win him over with food). And sure enough, they started appearing on my mom’s zakuski table. And not only appearing — my mother maintained, vehemently, that they were her recipe from the outset, and Asya stole them from her.

Far be it from me to get between two Soviet women and their signature zakuska. But the joke in all of this is that sprat buterbrodi are a bit of an archetypal dish — like BLTs, or bagels with lox and cream cheese. Although, of course, I’ve made a few tweaks to the standard combination (whoever’s it may be).

Бутербродики со шпротами (Sprat Buterbrodi)

Makes 8 toasts

Nutritional Info


Pickled Onions:

  • 1/2

    large onion, sliced in 1/8-inch thick half moons

  • 1/2 cup

    red wine

  • 1/4 cup

    distilled white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons

    granulated sugar


  • 8 slices

    pumpernickel cocktail bread (Rubschlager brand if available)

  • 1/3 cup

    smetana butter or cultured European style salted butter, softened to room temperature

Parsley Mayonnaise:

  • 1/2 cup

    parsley, finely minced

  • 1

    smal clove garlic, finely minced

  • 1 tablespoon

    lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup


Herb Salad:

  • 2 tablespoons

    dill sprigs, torn/picked into feathery fronds

  • 2 tablespoons

    radish sprouts (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons

    parsley leaves (use smallest leaves available)

  • 2 tablespoons

    chives, sliced into 1-inch batons

  • 1 teaspoon

    refined sunflower oil

  • Salt

To finish:

  • 1/2 cup

    parsley mayo

  • 2

    hard-boiled eggs

  • 8

    smoked sprats, drained (Riga Gold brand if available)


  1. To make the pickled onions: Place the onions in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the red wine, vinegars, salt and sugar into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil (run the fan — hot vinegar packs a punch). Remove from heat, and pour over the onions. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then use, or refrigerate for up to one week.

  2. To make the pumpernickel toasts: Generously spread the pumpernickel bread with butter on both sides. Bring a griddle or skillet to a medium heat, and toast for a few minutes, until the bread starts to darken (but not burn — adjust heat as needed). When the bread toasts, flip over, and cook the second side. Remove from the pan when they’re hard on the outside, but slightly soft in the middle, and set aside. Toasts can be made an hour or two in advance — if you need to make them much farther in advance, toast the bread a few minutes more, until it’s crisp throughout (it’ll keep better).

  3. To make the parsley mayo: In a bowl or food processor, mix together all of the ingredients until combined.

  4. Shortly before serving, make the herb salad: Mix together herbs, oil and salt. Be gentle — the herbs are delicate!

  5. To assemble: Place the toasts on a serving plate, and top each one with a spoonful of mayo. Using an egg slicer or a sharp knife, slice the eggs, and top each blob of mayo with an egg slice. Press down gently on each egg slice, so that the mayo spreads beneath it to form a nice egg-framing halo. Top each toast with a sprat, a few slices of pickled onion, and a generous pinch of herb salad. Serve.

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from the book KACHKA by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Copyright © 2017 by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Leela Cyd.