Thursday, July 27, 2006

Herring, it must be in my genes

Ever since I can remember I have loved pickled herring. I used to eat it on Saturdays and special holidays at my grandparents' house. I thought it was something only Russians ate because I never saw it anywhere else.

On my recent trip to Stockholm I not only re-discovered the pleasure of herring but learned about dozens of different ways to prepare it. Summer is the season for herring there and it was on every menu. I would have to say that the most brilliant preparation was the one at Wedholms Fisk, Stockholm's classic and classically chic restaurant. They served a side of herring that was marinated like gravlax, served room temperature with warm brown butter, topped with red onions, chopped dill, and baby potatoes. Brown butter and herring? It was a marriage made in heaven, though not a dish for the calorie-obsessed eater.

I smuggled some fresh herring home so I could try pickling my own and it was a big success. The fishmonger gave me a very simple recipe, the opposite of every recipe I've read on the subject. I had some friends over and served mine with chopped red onion, boiled potatoes and créam fraîche along with the 2005 Bandol Tempier Rose. The wine was a perfect match and this has to be the second best meal this summer.
Here is his recipe: Rinse 1 pound fresh herring filets and make a mixture of 1 part cider vinegar, 4 parts water and lots of salt, (I used 1/2 cup sea salt) and 1 tablespoon crushed white peppercorns. Leave for two days in the refrigerator.

Rinse the filets and add 1 part vinegar, 2 parts sugar, 3 parts water, 1 tablespoon allspice, crushed, 4 dried bay leaves, one red onion sliced, 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns and 2 tablespoons sea salt.
Marinate for 2 days…

Wedholms Fisk
Nybrokajen 17
S-111 48 Stockholm
Telephone 08.611.78.74_


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