Saturday, April 24, 2010

Herring Today …

This is a process taught to me by my wife's father, Leo, a former chef at Luchow's in New York City.  Thanks Leo.

The very most important thing for this pickled herring recipe is buying the best quality herring you can find … which is not easy to do. If you shop at a supermarket, may I recommend Svenska, if you can find it. Or, in a pinch, Nathan’s. Please don’t buy Vita. It tastes like recycled shoe leather. Or, to raise it another notch, shop at a Jewish deli, such a Zabars, and ask for schmaltz herring … which is the very best … tender as a baby’s bottom.

Now, even it is already pickled, rinse everything off of this herring … sour cream, onions … everything. If it is too salty place it in a shallow dish and run a thin stream of cold water run over it for at least a half an hour. Now sort through the herring and make sure there are no bones or anything to spoil the final product. If it isn't already, cut it into bite-size pieces. Now dry it off thoroughly and place about six ounces of it in a bowl.

Next, peel and cut a small onion (preferably Vidalia or Walla Walla) in half lengthwise. Now crosswise cut each half into very thin slices and separate the half-rings. Place them in with the herring. Spoon in about one tablespoon of good quality sharp cider vinegar and about the same quantity of white sugar. Add a large pinch of dry mustard and about a half pint of sour cream. Mix well. Top with a good sprinkling of dried dill weed … or preferably, chopped fresh dill.

Cover and place in the refrigerator at least over night.

Serve with a thin-sliced good rustic rye or pumpernickel bread  or, even better, some Wasa crispbread ... and some ice-cold aquavit. 

It most surely will be gone tomorrow.

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