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Netherlands: Hot or cold pickled herring

Netherlands: Hot or cold pickled herring

Raw fish is a funny one. In Asia millions eat sushi and sashimi daily, relishing in the purity of the fish and the tang of accompaniments like pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi paste.

The Scandinavians gorge on gravadlax, sliced thinly and draped onto blinis with a touch of horseradish, and South American ceviche is a food experience everyone should try.

While Oysters were once a staple of the poor in the UK, fewer of us enjoy their ozone-and-brine beauty because it’s never been cooked. This raw, pickled or cold-smoked fish culture just isn’t all that popular in the UK.

In The Netherlands, however, it is an intrinsic part of their national food identity. I’m talking, of course, of herring. It’s not hard to see why it’s so important once you taste it; tender herring fillets (skin and bones removed for the fussy) are completely lovely, with a punchy vinegar flavour balanced with horseradish, buttered new potatoes, dill and boiled eggs.

It’s also worth noting that herring, if caught in North Sea or North Atlantic, is one of the most sustainable fish available and therefore great for the future of seafood – as well as being good for you.

It isn’t just Holland that loves its fish this way; Scandinavia, too, is big on having it pickled, brined and soused, but seeing as no Scandinavian teams made the World Cup, we‘ll focus on a variation of the Dutch version of pickled herrings – both are very similar to anyone but the most patriotic of a-fish-iondos.

Eat this hot or cold.

Pickled herring recipe

Ingredients

  • 200ml cold water
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 25ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 thinly sliced white onion
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 generous pinches of table salt
  • about 20 white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds500g or 4-5 herring fillets – fresh is best, but (defrosted) frozen ones will do

Method

Add everything except the fish into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the herring to the pan, cover, and simmer on a low heat for 12-14 minutes, then remove from heat.

Allow cooking liquor to cool to a manageable temperature, then either drain and serve the fish warm, or add the fish to a kilner jar and top up with the liquor, onions, herbs and spices – adding a little extra white wine vinegar (2 tablespoons) for piquancy. Eat within 2 days.

Serve with buttered new potatoes sprinkled with fresh dill, quartered hard-boiled eggs and a creamy horseradish sauce.

Netherlands image by Ann Marie Michaels


Pickled herring


Top row: plain, colourful, glazier's bottom row: mustard, blackcurrant, apple & horseradish

Pickled herring has long played an important role in Swedish food. Originally, it was because herring were so plentiful that they were incredibly cheap, but now it is because they are central to many Swedish festivals forming, for instance, the first course of a julbord (Christmas buffet).

The herring are first salted and then they are pickled in a mixture of vinegar, water, sugar and spices. Every Swedish chef has their own favourite mixture, so feel free to tweak the recipes below to suit your own preferences. Indeed, many chefs delight in inventing new recipes every year!

Many Swedes consider it to be essential to offer guests a choice of types pickled herring. Typically, a julbord in a restaurant in Sweden will offer a choice of six or more, although for Swedes at home three different types is normally considered to be sufficient.

Smör, ost och sill (butter, cheese and pickled herring), known as S.O.S., is a popular starter in Swedish restaurants because many Swedes like to accompany pickled herring with knäckebröd (crispbread), butter and a chunk of lagrade ost (hard cheese), such as Västerbottensost. Other popular accompaniments are finely chopped red onion, gräddfil (similar to soured cream), new potates (traditionally only in the summer) and, last but not least, a glass of snaps, such O.P.Anderson. When served as a light lunch, hard boiled eggs and a salad are sometimes added.

Salting herring

If you would like to salt your own herring, there are recipes at the bottom of this page, but these days most Swedes buy packets of chilled ready salted fillets. Each 420 gram packet normally contains 4 fillets, about 200 grams (7 oz) drained weight, which is sufficient to make 4 portions when pickled, hence all the recipes below are based on using one packet. John Duxbury

Summary

• Packets of ready salted herring fillets should be kept refrigerated until required.
• Be sure to rinse the salted fillets thoroughly. I normally leave them to soak in clean water whilst I prepare the other ingredients.

• The recipes below are based on using ättikspirit, often just called ättika. It is solution of acetic acid in water and is usually made from wood, as a by-product of the paper industry. If you can't buy ättika, you can use 5% clear spirit (malt) vinegar instead, but you will need more vinegar and less water.
• The pickling solution is known as a 1-2-3 lag in Sweden as it is made up of 1 part ättika (12%), 2 parts sugar and 3 parts water by volume.
• The ratio is often tweaked a bit either by adding a little less water, in order to make the pickling solution 'sharper', or by adding more sugar, to make it sweeter.

• Snaps should be served at room temperature or slightly chilled. Often snaps is served too cold, which means the flavour is muted.

• For people who might not like pickled herring, I recommend serving small portions with quail eggs, hard cheese, finely chopped read onion, soured cream and some Swedish crispbread or dill flavoured new potatoes.

• If you are not sure what to choose I recommend one creamy variety, such as senapssill (top left), a clear type such as inlagd sill (top right) and one using fruit, such as svartvinbär (bottom row). In fact these three are my personal favourites!

Vörtbröd (wort bread) is often served with pickled herring instead of knäckebröd (crispbread), especially at Christmas.

Inlagd sill

Inlagd sill (pickled herring) often features on a Swedish smörgåsbord, but can also be served alone with fresh new potatoes and, sometimes, soured cream.

In some other recipes, the pickling solution is drained off and the carrots and onion slices removed, then the pickled herring are stirred into a creamy sauce.

There are numerous variations of the recipe below, so feel free to tweak the spices, although some sliced carrot and onion or leek is always included. For instance, 2 or 3 cloves are sometimes added and thin slices of horseradish are occasionally preferred to ginger,

150 ml (6 fl oz) water*
85 g (3 oz) granulated sugar
50 ml (2 fl oz) ättika, 12%*
1 bay leaf
4 allspice berries, crushed
10 white peppercorns
10 black peppercorns
4 cloves
½ tsp yellow mustard seeds, optional
1 small piece of ginger, optional
200 g (7 oz) salted herring fillets
½ red onion, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
a few sprigs of dill, optional

*Or 120 ml (½ cup) of 5% clear spirit vinegar and 80 ml (5 tbsp) of water

1. Mix the ättika, water, sugar, bay leaf, spices and ginger (optional) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then allow to cool, preferably overnight in a fridge.

2. Rinse the herring thoroughly and leave them to soak in water whilst you slice the onion and carrot.

3. Drain the herring fillets, dab them dry with kitchen towel and cut them into 2 cm wide (¾ inch) pieces.

4. Layer the herring, onion, carrot and dill (optional) in a glass jar and then pour on the chilled pickling solution, making sure that all of the herring is covered. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but it tastes better if allowed to stand for at least 24 hours.

5. Serve straight from the jar or transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh dill if desired. (If there is any leftover it can be stored for several weeks, provided it is refrigerated.)

Glasmästarsill

Glasmästarsill (glazier's herring or glassblower's herring) gets its name because all of the ingredients can be seen through the glass jar. Originally, it was made with salted herring which had been gutted and rinsed, but not filleted. In other words they were eaten with the bones still present. However, these days glasmästarsill is usually made using filleted herring, so now it is very like inlagd sill, apart from the addition of thin slices of horseradish.

200 g (7 oz) salted herring fillets
150 ml (6 fl oz) water*
85 g (3 oz) granulated sugar
50 ml (2 fl oz) ättika, 12%*
1 small carrot, sliced
½ red onion, sliced
6 white peppercorns
2 allspice berries, optional
1 piece of peeled horseradish, finely sliced
1 small piece of ginger, optional
2 bay leaves, optional

*Or 120 ml (½ cup) of 5% clear spirit vinegar and 80 ml (5 tbsp) of water

1. Rinse the fillets thoroughly and leave to soak in water whilst you prepare the pickling solution.

2. Place the water, ättika and granulated sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Leave to cool.

3. Drain the herring fillet, dab them dry with kitchen towel and cut them into 2 cm wide (¾ inch) pieces. Layer with all the remaining ingredients in a glass jar.

4. Pour the cold pickling solution over the herring and transfer to a fridge and keep for at least 24 hours before serving.

5. If the pickling solution becomes a little cloudy, pour it off and make a new solution, but allow it to cool before pouring it on to the herring.

Senapssill

I always include senapssill (herring in mustard sauce) when serving a selection of pickled herrings as it is so popular, both with people who love pickled herring and those who normally curl their noses up at the thought!

Senapssill is best made 5 or 6 hours in advance. Although it will keep for up to a week in a fridge, the flavour and colour can fade somewhat.

1½ tbsp sweetish mustard
1½ tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
½ tsp salt
1½ tbsp rapeseed oil
1½ tbsp soured cream
2-3 tbsp dill, finely chopped
200 g (7 oz) salted herring fillets

1. Mix the mustard, sugar and salt together in a bowl.

2. Whisk in the oil and then fold in the soured cream.

3. Mix in the chopped dill.

4. Rinse the herring fillets thoroughly, pat them dry and then cut them into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide pieces. Add them to the bowl and stir carefully to ensure that the herring is thoroughly coated by the sauce.

5. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate for 5-6 hours. Serve straight from the jar or transfer to a serving dish.

Färgglad sill

Färgglad sill (colourful herring) looks good and has a pleasant 'kick' to it. It is easy to make, but it should be served on the same day as it is made, because otherwise it can be too strong.

37 g (2½ tbsp) ättiksprit, 12%*
150 g (10 tbsp) water*
150 g (5¼ oz) granulated sugar
3-4 allspice berries, optional
1 medium sized carrot
¼ leek
½ red onion
200 g (7 oz) salted herring fillets

*Or 90 ml (6 tbsp) of 5% clear spirit vinegar and 90 ml (6 tbsp) of water

1. Boil up the ättiksprit, water, sugar and allspice berries (optional), stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.

2. Rinse the carrot and leek and slice lengthways to produce juliennes (matchsticks).

3. Thinly slice the red onion. Aim for roughly equal amounts of carrot, leek and onion.

4. Thoroughly rinse the herring fillets, pat dry and cuts into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide pieces.

5. Add the herring and vegetables to a glass jar in layers and then pour over the pickling solution. Serve the same day.

Tomatsill

Tomatsill (tomato marinated herring) is the joker in the pack as it doesn't always contain tomatoes! As with senapssill, the herring are not really pickled, but served in a sweet and sour sauce. It goes well with a salad and new potatoes for a light lunch or as part of the herring selection on a smörgåsbord.

200 g (7 oz) salted herring fillets
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1½ tbsp a neutral (flavourless) oil
½ tbsp water
2 tbsp chilli sauce
½ tbsp sugar
6 white peppercorns
1 tbsp sherry
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley or dill, finely chopped

1. Thoroughly rinse the herring, pat dry and cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide pieces. Lay them in deep serving platter.

2. Mix the vinegar, oil, water, chilli sauce, sugar, pepper and sherry in a separate bowl. Add the chopped red onion and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a little salt or more white pepper if necessary.

3. Pour the sauce over the herring and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

4. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or dill just before serving. (Any leftover can be kept for up to a week provided it is refrigerated.)

Äpple- och pepparrotssill

Äpple- och pepparrotssill (pickled herring with apple and horseradish) is a fantastic combination. The taste of the horseradish, a much loved root in Sweden, blends well with the slight acidity of the apples which helps to balance the oiliness of the herring.

For a milder flavour, use 200 grams (7 oz) of salted herring fillets instead of using pickled herring. Simply rinse the fillets thoroughly, pat dry and cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide strips.

1 jar of inlagd sill, see recipe above
½ red eating apple
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp carrot, finely diced
2 tsp capers
1½ tbsp freshly grated horseradish
3 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
thin apple slices, to garnish
thin strips of fresh horseradish, to garnish

1. Pour off the pickling solution from the inlagd sill and discard the carrot and onion slices.

2. Core the red apple and roughly dice and blend with all the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

3. Add the herring and lightly mix. Transfer to a clean jar and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

4. Garnish with thin slices of apple and strips of fresh horseradish just before serving.

Äppelsill med curry

Apple, curry and herring is a wonderful combination, so it is a popular choice for curry lovers.

200 g (7 oz) salted herring fillets
5 tbsp mayonnaise
120 ml (½ cup) thick Greek or Turkish yoghurt
2 tsp curry powder
salt
freshly ground white pepper
1 small red-coloured eating apple
4 tbsp finely chopped chives
extra chopped chives, to garnish

1. Thoroughly rinse the salted herring, pat dry and cut into 2 cm (¾") wide pieces.

2. Mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt, curry, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the herring pieces.

3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm (food wrap) and transfer to a fridge. Leave for at least 6 hours.

4. Core and dice the apple, leaving the skin on. Add half the diced apple and 4 tablespoons of chopped chives to the herring, mixing well.

5. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining diced apple and chopped chives.

Lingonsill

Lingonsill (pickled herring with lingonberries) is an excellent addition to a julbord (Christmas buffet), especially for those new to Swedish food. The lingonberries look festive and create interest, because many people who have not been to Sweden will probably never have tasted them before.

For a milder flavour, use 200 grams (7 oz) of salted herring fillets instead of using pickled herring. Simply rinse the fillets thoroughly, pat dry and cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide strips.

1 jar of inlagd sill, see recipe above
50 g (3 tbsp) white wine vinegar
4 lightly crushed black peppercorns
50 g (3 tbsp) raw (unrefined) sugar
50 g (3 tbsp) water
½ red onion, sliced
60 g (4 tbsp) rårörda lingon (sweetened lingonberries)

1. Pour off the pickling solution from the inlagd sill and discard the carrot and onion slices. Transfer the herring pieces to a clean jar.

2. Mix the vinegar, pepper, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves.

3. Add the onion slices and sweetened lingonberries to the saucepan. Mix and leave to cool.

4. When cold, pour over the herring, seal and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

Svartvinbärssill

I first had svartvinbärssill (pickled herring with blackcurrants) at Brygghuset Krog in Fiskebäckskil, a charming village on the west coast of Sweden. Brygghuset serve all kinds of delicious fish, but their pickled herring is amongst the best anywhere.

The acidity and sweetness of blackcurrants balances the oiliness of the herring to produce a wonderful combination. Because blackcurrants are often quite sharp, a sweeter pickling liquid is used, rather than the traditional 1-2-3 lag.

45 g (3 tbsp) ättiksprit, 12%*
100 g (3½ oz) granulated sugar
120 g (½ cup) water*
2 allspice berries, optional
75 g (6 tbsp) blackcurrants, fresh or frozen
1 small bay leaf
¼-½ tsp black peppercorns
200 g (7 oz) salted herring fillets
½ small red onion, sliced

*Or 100 ml (3½ fl oz) of 5% clear spirit vinegar and 60 ml (¼ cup) of water

1. Boil up the ättikspirit, sugar, water and allspice berries in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add half of the blackcurrants, the bay leaf and the peppercorns. Leave to cool completely.

3. Put the remaining berries in a sieve over the pickling solution and using a fork press as much juice as possible into the saucepan. (Alternatively, add 3 tablespoons of blackcurrant concentrate/cordial/syrup.)

4. Thoroughly rinse the salted herring fillets, pat them dry and cut them into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide pieces.

5. Add the herring pieces, sliced red onion and pickling solutions in layers to a clean preserving jar. Ensure that the herring is completely covered by the pickling solution. Refrigerate for 24 hours before using.

Salting herring at home

Originally herrings were preserved using a method developed by the Dutch in the 14th century. Freshly caught herrings were gutted and cured in salt for several months, packed in large barrels. The salted herrings were then eaten unadorned. For most of us these days the fish would have been too salty, as they contained 12-14% salt, so nowadays the cured herrings are soaked to remove some of the salt and then they are pickled.

Traditional cure

1. Remove the heads and gills and then weigh the herring. Place the herring into jars or pots with tight-fitting lids and add a third of their weight in coarse sea salt. Leave in a cool dark place, usually a referigerator, for at leat two weeks.

2. Remove the salted herring and soak in plenty of water, allowing at least 1½ litres (3 pints) per herring. Leave in a cool place for at least 24 hours, then drain.

3. Gut and fillet the herring and rinse well in cold water.

4. Drain and pat dry before using.

Light cure

1. Check the herrings for any pin bones.

2. Dissolve the salt in water to make a brine. If heated, allow to cool.

3. Add the fillets and leave for about 3 hours.

4. Drain and pat dry before using.

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10 traditional Dutch recipes – not all of which involve potato

It would be very easy to be snotty about Dutch food and talk about snack bars, chicken with apple puree and the ubiquitous ‘ovenschotel’. We could go on and on about boiled chicory with ham and cheese sauce and meatballs with green beans and potatoes – served at 6pm sharp.

But we won’t be doing any of that. We have a sneaking appreciation for some traditional Dutch recipes – especially those guaranteed to get you through the cold winters. Here are 10 dishes you really should try.

1. Stamppot and its ilk
Let us get this out of the way to start with. When it comes to food it seems the Dutch like nothing better than to mash things. They cannot put a number of perfectly nice ingredients together without taking a hand blender to them. But then, it’s difficult to make a hash of a mash – the basic ingredients being simply potato and some vegetable or other. There is an endless list of things you can mash. Here are some examples.

Hutspot is said to have originated in Leiden in 1574. The Spanish, on the run from William of Orange, lifted the siege of the city in a hurry and left a simmering pot of onions, carrots and parsnips (later to be replaced by potatoes). The famished people of Leiden, presumably all armed with forks, mashed the lot and invented hutspot. It is traditionally eaten with ‘klapstuk’ or boiled beef but we like it with bacon chops.

Hete bliksem means ‘hot lightning’ and is made of apple and potato, mashed up of course. Use sour apples (Goudreinette) and put in lots of crispy fried bacon cubes.

Boerenkool and andijviestamppot are, respectively, potato and curly kale mash and potato and curly endive mash. Serve with rookworst (smoked sausage) and fried bacon bits. The more green vegetable the better. The other big hitter is zuurkool stamppot – pickled cabbage and mash which is a distinctly acquired taste.

2 Beetroot and herring salad
Another simple dish consisting of pickled herring, cooked beetroot, some gherkins, pickled onions, boiled potatoes and some white wine vinegar. Cut everything up in small pieces and mix (not mash).

3 Wentelteefje
Good camping food, a wentelteefje is a slice of white bread sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar dipped in milk and egg and then fried in butter.

‘Ey, waer ick t’huys alleen, ick backte wentel-teven Van suyckert witte broot, en butter-smeerigh vet,’ wrote one A. van de Venne in 1623. ‘Were I home alone I would bake some wentelteven of sugared white bread and greasy butter.’ It must have been the 17 th century equivalent of that ultimate solitary culinary pleasure, the bacon sandwich.

The origin of the word is a little obscure. ‘Wentelen’ means to turn over which is understandable enough but teefje means ‘bitch’ and is therefore slightly puzzling. ‘Teef’ may have been a sort of confectionary in the olden days.

4 Spek en bonen
Another simple winter favourite: bruine bonen (brown beans), smoked bacon, throw together, et voilà. ‘Voor spek en bonen meedoen’ originally meant to do something for very little remuneration and is one of several Dutch sayings involving beans. It now means your presence does not really bring anything to the proceedings.

5 Kapucijners with spek and piccalilly
We have no idea what the proper name for this dish is because everyone we ask has a different answer. This feast is based on big Dutch peas known as kapucijners which are cooked and then served with slices of bacon, smoked sausage, boiled potatoes, apple puree, silverskin onions and piccalilly… at least.

May also be known as the Captain’s Dinner, raasdonders or Zeeuwse rijstafel (with the addition of rice).

6 Draadjesvlees
The perfect winter warmer. Draadjesvlees is beef that has been simmering in stock for about a month with a few spices thrown in. No, it’s not a month, but it is a good few hours – long enough for the meat to become very tender and fall apart in little threads, or draadjes.

Not surprisingly, old-fashioned draadjesvlees has been reclaimed by the slow food movement. Serve with red cabbage and apple (from a jar) and boiled potatoes.

7 Griesmeelpudding
Beloved by some, gruesome childhood memory for others, griesmeelpudding is semolina pudding. It is often covered in bessensap, or berry coulis.

8 Hangop
This is another dessert. You can buy it in the supermarket but don’t because it is laughably easy to make. All you need is a wet tea towel, a sieve and a container to sit under the sieve. Pour a litre of yoghurt onto the wet tea towel, cover and leave for 8 hours in the fridge.

What you are left with is hangop and very delicious it is too, especially with fruit or honey. The name has nothing to do with any hang ups the Dutch may have about the quality of their cuisine. The tea towel with yoghurt used to be ‘hung up’ for easy dripping hence the name.

9 Erwtensoep
No list of Dutch dishes would be complete without the perfect lunch on a winter’s day – thick, creamy, sausage-filled pea soup. Pumpernickel bread with katenspek (yes, smoked bacon again) on the side is a must, as is a strapping Belgian beer. Make it yourself and feel you really have gone Dutch.

10 Haagse bluf

The name of this dessert roughly translates as ‘all talk and no substance from the Hague’ which may or may not have something to do with The Hague being the political capital of the Netherlands.

Haagse Bluf is a dessert made up entirely of fluff. Beat two egg whites with 100 grams of powdered sugar, then adorn with a bit of berry juice. Serve in a glass with ladies fingers biscuits.

This article was first published on website Netherlands by Numbers


Pickled Herring

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Pickled herring seems to be an acquired taste, because this beloved Scandinavian dish hasn’t quite gone mainstream in the States. It’s a distant cousin of ceviche and an excellent way to enjoy preserved fish. Sneak some onto your next smorgasbord accompanied by rye toasts, hard-boiled eggs, sliced red onion, freshly chopped dill, and a little Horseradish-Cream Sauce.

What to buy: Salted herring can be found online. If you buy whole salted herring, be sure to remove the skin before pickling.


1. History

Pickled herrings have been a staple in Northern Europe since Medieval times, being a way to store and transport fish, especially necessary in meatless periods like Lent. The herrings would be prepared, then packed in barrels for storage or transportation.

1.1. History Geographic distribution

In the Nordic countries, once the pickling process is finished and depending on which of the dozens of classic herring flavourings are selected, it is eaten with dark rye bread, crisp bread, sour cream, or potatoes. This dish is common at Christmas, Easter and Midsummer, where it is frequently eaten along with spirits like akvavit.

Soused herring maatjesharing or just maatjes in Dutch is an especially mild salt herring, which is made from young immature herrings. The herrings are ripened for a couple of days in oak barrels in a salty solution, or brine. The term" soused herring” in English can also describe a marinated herring that has been cooked.

Rollmops are pickled herring fillets rolled hence the name into a cylindrical shape around a piece of pickled gherkin or an onion. They are thought to have developed as a special treat in 19th century Berlin, and the word borrowed from the German.

Pickled herring, especially brined herring, is common in Russia and Ukraine, where it is served cut into pieces and seasoned with sunflower oil and onions, or can be part of herring salads, such as dressed herring, which are usually prepared with vegetables and seasoned with mayonnaise dressing.

Brined herring is common in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, perhaps best known for vorschmack salad known in English simply as "chopped herring" and as schmaltz herring in Yiddish. In Israel it is commonly known as dag maluach which means "salted fish".

Pickled herring can also be found in the cuisine of Hokkaidō in Japan, where families traditionally preserved large quantities for winter.

In Nova Scotia, Canada, pickled herring with onions is called "solomon gundy" and is quite popular. Not to be confused with the Jamaican pickled fish pate of the same name, or the DC character.

"Bismarck herring" German Bismarckhering is the common name for pickled herring in Germany, and is sometimes sold elsewhere under that name. There are various theories as to why the product is associated with Bismarck.


It would be very easy to be snotty about Dutch food and talk about snack bars, chicken with apple puree and the ubiquitous ‘ovenschotel’. We could go on and on about boiled chicory with ham and cheese sauce and meatballs with green beans and potatoes – served at 6pm sharp.

But we won’t be doing any of that. We have a sneaking appreciation for some traditional Dutch recipes – especially those guaranteed to get you through the cold winters. Here are 10 you really should try.

1. Stamppot and its ilk
Let us get this out of the way to start with. When it comes to food it seems the Dutch like nothing better than to mash things. They cannot put a number of perfectly nice ingredients together without taking a hand blender to them. But then, it’s difficult to make a hash of a mash – the basic ingredients being simply potato and some vegetable or other. There is an endless list of things you can mash. Here’s some examples.

Hutspot is said to have originated in Leiden in 1574. The Spanish, on the run from William of Orange, lifted the siege of the city in a hurry and left a simmering pot of onions, carrots and parsnips (later to be replaced by potatoes). The famished people of Leiden, presumably all armed with forks, mashed the lot and invented hutspot. It is traditionally eaten with ‘klapstuk’ or boiled beef but we like it with bacon chops.

Hete bliksem means ‘hot lightning’ and is made of apple and potato, mashed up of course. Use sour apples (Goudreinette) and put in lots of crispy fried bacon cubes.

Boerenkool and andijviestamppot are, respectively, potato and curly kale mash and potato and curly endive mash. Serve with rookworst (smoked sausage) and fried bacon bits. The more green vegetable the better. The other big hitter is zuurkool stamppot – pickled cabbage and mash which is a distinctly acquired taste.

2 Beetroot and herring salad
Another simple dish consisting of pickled herring, cooked beetroot, some gherkins, pickled onions, boiled potatoes and some white wine vinegar. Cut everything up in small pieces and mix (not mash).

3 Wentelteefje
Good camping food, a wentelteefje is a slice of white bread sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar dipped in milk and egg and then fried in butter.

Cut the crusts off as an extra touch

‘Ey, waer ick t’huys alleen, ick backte wentel-teven Van suyckert witte broot, en butter-smeerigh vet,’ wrote one A. van de Venne in 1623. ‘Were I home alone I would bake some wentelteven of sugared white bread and greasy butter.’ It must have been the 17 th century equivalent of that ultimate solitary culinary pleasure, the bacon sandwich.

The origin of the word is a little obscure. ‘Wentelen’ means to turn over which is understandable enough but teefje mean ‘bitch’ and is therefore slightly puzzling. ‘Teef’ may have been a sort of confectionary in the olden days.

4 Spek en bonen
Another simple winter favourite: bruine bonen (brown beans), smoked bacon, throw together et voilà. ‘Voor spek en bonen meedoen’ originally meant to do something for very little remuneration and is one of several Dutch sayings involving beans. It now means your presence does not really bring anything to the proceedings.

5 Kapucijners with spek and piccalilly
We have no idea what the proper name for this dish is because everyone we ask has a different answer. This feast is based on big Dutch peas known as kapucijners which are cooked and then served with slices of bacon, smoked sausage, boiled potatoes, apple puree, silverskin onions and piccalilly… at least.

May also be known as the Captain’s Dinner, raasdonders or Zeeuwse rijstafel (with the addition of rice).

6 Draadjesvlees
The perfect winter warmer. Draadjesvlees is beef that has been simmering in stock for about a month with a few spices thrown in. No, it’s not a month, but it is a good few hours – long enough for the meat to become very tender and fall apart in little threads, or draadjes.

Not a bit of mashed potato in sight

Not surprisingly, old-fashioned draadjesvlees has been reclaimed by the slow food movement. Serve with red cabbage and apple (from a jar) and boiled potatoes.

7 Griesmeelpudding
Beloved by some, gruesome childhood memory for others, griesmeelpudding is semolina pudding. It is often covered in bessensap, or berry coulis. Here’s a recipe, courtesy of Ingrid Weijers.

100 grams (3/4 cup) semolina flour
75 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
8 grams vanilla sugar (can substitute with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
pinch salt
1 liter (4 1/4 cups) whole milk
1 egg white

  • Beat egg white until stiff.
  • Combine the semolina flour, sugar, salt and vanilla sugar (if you are using vanilla extract do NOT add it yet).
  • Bring the milk to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Gradually add the semolina mixture while continuously stirring so that it does not burn.
  • After 2 minutes, remove the pot from the heat. Continue to stir until the mixture is cooled. To speed up the cooling process, you can place the pot in a pan of cold water. (Add the vanilla extract to pudding as it cools if you are substituting.)
  • When the mixture is no longer hot, fold in the egg white. This will give the pudding an airy quality.
  • Pour the mixture into a pudding mold that has been slightly moistened. (I used six small silicone molds.) Lightly tap the mold on the counter in order to remove large air bubbles.
  • Cover the mold with plastic wrap. When the pudding has cooled to room temperature, transfer the pudding to the refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours.


8 Hangop

This is another dessert. You can buy it in the supermarket but don’t because it is laughably easy to make. All you need is a wet tea towel, a sieve and a container to sit under the sieve. Pour a litre of yoghurt onto the wet tea towel, cover and leave for 8 hours in the fridge.

What you are left with is hangop and very delicious it is too, especially with fruit or honey. The name has nothing to do with any hang ups the Dutch may have about the quality of their cuisine. The tea towel with yoghurt used to be ‘hung up’ for easy dripping hence the name.

9 Erwtensoep
No list of Dutch dishes would be complete without the perfect lunch on a winter’s day – thick, creamy, sausage-filled pea soup. Pumpernickel bread with katenspek (yes, smoked bacon again) on the side is a must, as is a strapping Belgian beer.

1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz) dried green split peas (300 g)
3 1/2 oz Dutch speklapjes (fresh sliced pork belly), (100 g), or thick-cut bacon
1 pork chop (5-6 oz/150 g) 1 stock cube (you could use vegetable/pork/chicken)
2 celery sticks
2-3 carrots, sliced (1/2 cup/3 1/2 oz/100 g)
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 small leek, sliced (1/2 cup/3 1/2 oz/100 g)
1/4 celeriac, cubed (1/2 cup/3 /12 oz/100 g)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 3 3/4 pints water (1.75 litres) to the boil in a large soup pot, along with the split peas, stock cube, pork chop and bacon. Skim off any froth forming on top. Put the lid on the pot and leave to boil softly for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take the pork chop out with a pair of tongs, de-bone and thinly slice the meat. Set aside. Add the vegetables to the boiling broth and leave to cook for another 30 minutes, adding a little extra water every time the soup starts to catch.
Add the smoked sausage for the last 15 minutes, put the pork chop meat back in and then devour.

10 Haagse bluf
The name of this dessert roughly translates as ‘all talk and no substance from the Hague’ which may or may not have something to do with The Hague being the political capital of the Netherlands.

Haagse Bluf is a dessert made up entirely of fluff. Beat two egg whites with 100 grams of powdered sugar, then adorn with a bit of berry juice. Serve in a glass with ladies fingers biscuits.

Of course, there are many other dishes we could have included here… please, feel free to send us your favourites.


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Hot Pickled Herring with Bacon and Endive Stamppot

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Today’s weather has been what I imagine it’s always like in the Low Countries in November. Cold, grey and with an all-pervasive wetness that alternates between rain and snow. This is stay inside and warm your soul weather make simple comfort food weather. A nice oily fish cooked in a sweet-sour liquor and some flavourful simple Stamppot fits the bill.

“Stamp what?” I hear you ask. Stamppot is a Dutch dish that roughly translated means ‘mashed stuff’. It’s basically potatoes mashed with vegetables and sometimes bacon or sausage. Upon asking a friend of mine who worked in a restaurant in Amsterdam, he told me I could stick what I wanted in there, so long as the a base was mashed potatoes. I like this sort of unfussy eating, but I already had a good plan for what I would stamp in my pot.

I’d been given the idea for the dish when I was visiting the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. It’s a wonderful place, dedicated to raising awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food. I’ll write more about it another day, but if you want a great day out I encourage you to go and visit. On the day I was there the farm stand was out and I couldn’t resist picking up some goodies. I got chatting to a Dutch lady in the line. She was buying up bacon ends and described Stamppot to me as her favourite thing to do with them. She liked to eat hers with some sweet pickled herring. By chance I had bought herring this week from P.E & D.D. seafoods, so the fate of this meal was sealed. I grabbed the last bag of bacon ends and on the way home picked up an endive per her suggestion.

Cooking herring in a hot pickle is a very simple affair. Using virtually the same preparation as for soused fish, the herring is lightly poached in a broth of vinegar, water and sugar. The only problem with herring is that it’s awash with tiny feathery bones and so you need to really invest a good few minutes pulling them out with tweezers before you start cooking. This may seem like a chore, but I found it to be curiously therapeutic. Despite best efforts a few hair-thin bones slipped through, but it was a darn site better that had I not gone to the effort. And after all, with the weather gloomy and grey outside it wasn’t like I had better things to do!


General advice on how to use: what to serve and how much to keep

Home-cooked herring is in perfect harmony with white bread, cucumber, and onion, with which it is marinated. In the Netherlands, such a sandwich is sold in fast foods – it is very popular along with a hot dog. Diversify it with a half boiled egg, gherkin, sour cream or even cream.

Another way of serving can be borrowed from the Germans, who eat pickled herring with boiled beans and fried bacon. A very unusual, but very remarkable flavor combination – a fish on rye bread with cranberry sauce. And of course, the ideal option is ours, Russian, when the herring is eaten with sweet, crumbly, scalding hot uncooked potatoes.

While enjoying a delicious meal, be careful and carefully monitor the shelf life of pickled herring. Without brine, it can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 2 days. Salted fish (these include all snacks prepared according to the above recipes) in the marinade are allowed to hold up to 7 days. But if you decide to make a salad “Herring under a fur coat”, you need to eat it within 12 hours after cooking. Now you know everything so that in the near future to please the family and guests of the house with stunning marinated herring, cooked with his own hand!

Boone

The writer of this article, currently manages his own blog moment for life and spread happiness and is managing to do well by mixing online marketing and traditional marketing practices into one.

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Contents

Raw Atlantic herring is 72% water, 18% protein, 9% fat, and contains no carbohydrates. In a 100 gram reference amount, raw herring provides 158 calories, and is a highly rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin B12 (570% DV). It also has rich content of niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin D, and phosphorus (21-34% DV). Raw herring contains moderate amounts of other B vitamins and zinc, and is an excellent food source of omega-3 fatty acids. [5]

Contamination Edit

Pacific and Atlantic herring are susceptible to contamination from environmental pollution, such as by PCBs, PBDEs, mercury, and listeria. [6] [7] [8] Eating herring eggs may cause cholera. [9]

Herring has been a staple food source since at least 3000 B.C. There are numerous ways the fish is served and many regional recipes: eaten raw, fermented, pickled, or cured by other techniques.

Raw Edit

A typical Dutch delicacy is Hollandse Nieuwe (Dutch New), which is raw herring from the catches around the end of spring and the beginning of summer. This is typically eaten with raw onion. Hollandse nieuwe is only available in spring when the first seasonal catch of herring is brought in. This is celebrated in festivals such as the Vlaardingen Herring Festival and Vlaggetjesdag in Scheveningen. The new herring are frozen and enzyme-preserved for the remainder of the year. The herring is said to be eaten "raw" because it has not been cooked, although it has been subjected to a degree of curing. The first barrel of Hollandse Nieuwe is traditionally sold at auction for charity. Very young herring are called whitebait and are eaten whole as a delicacy.

Salted Edit

In Norway, salting herring is a significant business. Herring was traditionally salted in wooden barrels and constituted a significant food resource. Salted herring is the basis for a number of herring dishes, as spekesild.

Fermented Edit

In Sweden, Baltic herring ("Strömming") is fermented to make surströmming.

Pickled Edit

Pickled herrings are part of German (Bismarckhering), Nordic, Dutch, Polish, Baltic and Jewish [10] cuisine. Most cured herrings uses a two-step process. Initially, the herrings are cured with salt to extract water. The second stage involves removing the salt and adding flavorings, typically a vinegar, salt, sugar solution to which ingredients like peppercorn, bay leaves and raw onions are added. Other flavors can be added, such as sherry, mustard and dill. The tradition is strong in Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Iceland and Germany.

Dried Edit

In the Philippines, dried herring is popularly eaten during breakfast, along with garlic rice and eggs.

Smoked Edit

A kipper is a split, gutted and cold smoked herring, a bloater is a whole non gutted cold smoked herring and a buckling is a whole herring, gutted apart from roe or milt and then hot smoked. All are staples of British cuisine. According to George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier, the Emperor Charles V erected a statue to the inventor of bloaters.

Smoked herring is a traditional meal on the Danish island in the Baltic Sea, Bornholm. This is also the case in Sweden where one can get hard fried/smoked "Strömming" named "Sotare" in places like Skansen, Stockholm.

Other Edit

In Scotland, herrings are traditionally filleted, coated in seasoned pin-head oatmeal, and fried in a pan with butter or oil. This dish is usually served with "crushed", buttered, and boiled potatoes.

In Sweden, herring soup is a traditional dish.

In Southeast Alaska, western hemlock boughs are cut and placed in the ocean before the herring arrive to spawn. The fertilized herring eggs stick to the boughs, and are easily collected. After being boiled briefly the eggs are removed from the bough. Herring eggs collected in this way are eaten plain or in herring egg salad. This method of collection is part of Tlingit tradition.


Pickled Beets

berkant_sezer / Getty Images

Pickled beets are as ubiquitous across Scandinavia as marinated cucumbers and for good reason. As “winter” vegetables, beets keep well for long periods of time in cool conditions, providing a valuable source of healthy antioxidants when summer vegetables are unavailable. And when pickled, both their vibrant red color and their natural sweetness is enhanced superior as pickles when served alone, they also contribute color, flavor, and a refreshing crispness to herring salads, Swedish hamburgers, and open-faced sandwiches (in Danish, smørrebrød).