Herring

Herring

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

One of the most succulent of the fat fish (see Fish). It is not available fresh in the Southern Hemisphere, but can be bought frozen in some delicatessens. Herring is picked, dried and cured by salting and smoking in a great variety of ways, some of the most famous being kippers, bloaters, salts, rollmops, Bismarck herring and red herring. Fresh or frozen herring can be cooked in any of the ways suitable for fat fish, or in the traditional Scottish way with oatmeal, a marvellous breakfast dish.

In Scandinavia and Germany, Schnapps, Aquavit or vodka are often served ice-cold with herring, sometimes followed by a cold Pilsener chaser.

See also Kippers.

Herring, tinned and salted

In addition to the many prepared herring and herring salads available in delicatessens, there are dozens of versions in jars and tins, in grocery stores, gourmet food departments and supermarkets. Depending on the type of herring, its sauce and its flavour, you can do a lot to these preparations by adding, as needed, sour cream, vinegar or sugar if the herring is too sweet or too sour, fresh snipped dill or slivers of onions, a pinch of curry powder or a dab of mustard, a slice of lemon or a few spoonfuls of white wine.

All of the herring sold in barrels for preparation at home is cured in brine and must be kept soaking in the refrigerator in several changes of cold water before you can proceed with a recipe. Salt herring is a firm fish which, as you might expect from its name, is extremely salty.

Matjes denotes a reddish, salt-cured herring that has not yet spawned. It is quite salty and richly flavoured, very tender and delicate in texture. It is almost always sold in fillets and is at its best when chilled on ice and served with sprays of dill and hot, boiled new potatoes; it may be soaked first in milk or buttermilk.

Bismarck is a sharply flavoured herring, pickled whole in a spicy mixture of vinegar, onions, spices and lots of dried red chillies.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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