A few weeks ago, a swedish friend invited me over to hold a herring-picking experiment. Who knew that swedish and ukraininan/russian cuisines had so much in common? I like herring too!
But first, we had to have lunch. And what a lunch it was!
I discovered a new-to-me dish that I’ll be trying to sneak into our meals at home – mashed cauliflower. Easy as it sounds, and tasty – and surprisingly doesn’t taste as much like cauliflower as I expected it to taste!
Of course, we also had to go overboard and try some of the herring. We had to modify the recipe when we realized it wasn’t going to work (the dill was supposed to be the filling, but our fillets were already cut), but I think I like it more this way. The crispy dill crust was extra-tasty! And Anna wowed me with her fearless “deep frying in a skillet” skills.
I don’t remember everything that went into the crust, but at the very least it included dill, lemon, flour, and egg whites. The mixture was sticky enough that I managed to pat it down onto the fish and have it stick. However, a few days later I read a very useful-sounding tip for cases like this – once the crust mixture is on, give it a spritz of oil spray to keep it together.
As for the picked herring? A success, I say! So successful, in fact, that I completely forgot to take a picture of one of the recipes (in mustard/horseradish sauce) before husband polished it off. The other one was a more traditional pickle with onions, carrots (needs more next time) and leeks.
For the mustard herring, the herring was actually supposed to pickle on its own for a few days, at which point you were supposed to mix in the mustard mixture. Anna generously gave me a few handfuls of the different-coloured peppercorns which needed to be crushed and mixed with the mustard, and when I got home I set them aside on the counter until a few days later. Except that this is what I came home to the next day.
The process itself couldn’t be easier – start with salted herring, soak it in water overnight to draw out some of the salt. Cut up the herring and the veggies, (artfully) cram everything into pickling jars, boil up some vinegar and sugar, let cool and then pour into the jars to cover. I’d like to know whether they can be canned for longer storage (probably not since a water bath may cook it too much?), but on the other hand the batches we made were small enough that they can easily be consumed within the couple-week recommended window.
What story about cooking would be complete without mischievous cats? These are the above-mentioned peppercorns. Scattered across the floor. Outside the crinkly plastic baggies they were in. You’d think I would have learned that my cats will play with anything wrapped in crinkly plastic after coming home one day and finding a plastic bag filled with breadcrumbs (which used to be bread slices in the morning) on the floor. I guess my cats thought I needed a reminder.