It was also was good to have on Fridays where not by choice but in many areas legally you couldn't eat meat so the salted fish was very important. You could be jailed if you were caught eating meat.
The Herring which feed on little tiny plankton can sense good feeding areas a thousand miles away. So one day ....all the sudden the herring would be gone! They wouldn't return sometimes for years.
Centuries ago it was blamed on the sins of the people, like too much adultery etc.
Pickling or more accurately"Salting" for centuries was the only way to preserve any food.
These Herring were cleaned and put in barrels with layers of salt and you could be sure and have food for the winter. There were no freezers except natural ones back then.
So if you are looking for something to celebrate your heritage with
try making this salad. If you are squeamish about the herring,
then use another kind of fish, like a salmon or cod.
I know some of my German friends would think this sacrilege
but to the un-initiated herring can be very fishy and can prejudice us for a lifetime.
I have had friends like Don Wall, that do their own salting and pickling of Herring and the recipe is a family secret. They know how to keep the fishiness out of it.
Taming the Fishiness in Herring
One thing you learn as a chef is to balance flavors.
Liver is one of my least favorite foods ....by itself. But when mixed and tamed with other flavors it is one of my favorite. Blend with pork and spices and Braunschweiger is a delicacy. It wouldn't be any good WITHOUT the liver ....
Is something too salty? Blend it with a tart flavor and a sweet flavor and
you now have a robust balanced flavor!
The strong fishy flavor of anchovy paste can be used to boost flavors of salads and sauces and you would never know it is there. I use a good quality vinegar and some sugar to counter balance the flavor of the fishiness. It is many chefs secret ingredient ...
The potatoes, pickles and beets also give texture and flavor to counter balance the strong taste of the fish.
Anette Holmes told me as a child in Germany she loved the flavors of her mom's Herring salat , especially the flavors of the sauce, the pickles and apples. and ..........lots and lots of good sour cream.
Sour cream really smoothes out the flavors of this
Anette Holmes Mother's Recipe for Herring Salat
The basics of a Herring salad vary from region to region,
Usually there is herring,
potatoes, apples, pickles and onions.
Sometimes eggs and beets.
The dressing is usually cream and mayonnaise mixed to gether.
If there are beets the salad takes on a light purple color
when it mixes with the dressing.
printer friendly version
1 package or jar of 500 mg or ab out 8 oz. of
herring filets or pickled Herring. Drain. Marinated in
1 / 2 cup cider vinegar if desired.
1 cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups diced cooked potato
1 apple diced
1 16 0z can of diced up pickled beets
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup diced dill pickle
1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 hard boiled eggs.
Mix all ingredients together and let sit for a few hours.
Good served as a salad on a lettuce leaf
Garnish with chopped boiled eggs.
You can also serve on rye bread or crackers
Top with chopped boiled eggs and dill springs are nice too.