Perhaps you’ve seen them – the videos of people retching and yowling like tortured puppies over a tin of Swedish fermented herring like it’s the worst thing that ever happened to them. And yeah, I laughed the first time I saw them too. But come on. Sure, it smells a bit funny, but so does a chip shop. And you don’t swallow a whole fish with bones and all and assess a goddamn delicacy that way. I mean, what if I chomped down a platter of only prosciutto and dissed the entirety of Italian cuisine because I found it too salty?
So how are you supposed to eat fermented herring? Well what do you know, that’s exactly what I’m here to tell you. To begin with, you need accessory foods. Opinions differ – as they always do with traditions – but I like my herring with Swedish thin bread, potatoes, red onion, sour cream, and tomatoes.
You may also want to indulge in some accessory drinks. Some people swear by milk, and others by beer. And why not a home made schnapps made with seeds of fennel, caraway, and coriander soaked in vodka?
You can eat your herring with the requisite accessory foods as a regular meal, with everything laid on a plate, but I find it more festive to make a tunnbrödklämma – a piece of thin bread with a mound of toppings that make it almost impossible to eat. So it’s a challenge as well!
Eaten this way, the herring provides a salty, tangy accent to a mouthful of quite bland, sweet foods – absolutely delicious!
(Good enough to kiss! :D)
I’ve decided to make my blog a nave for everything I’ve got going on in my life, so from now on that includes hubby’s and my cooking videos. So far I haven’t summoned up the energy to put subtitles in them, so I’m sorry if you don’t understand Swedish! Still, you can “look at the pictures” as seven-year-old me said when I tagged along to an Italian opera.
Last night was bright and cheerful, and we celebrated a friend’s birthday and the arrival of spring with a lovely dinner. The sun shone in through the kitchen window, glowing like gold in this glass of champagne.
Now, I don’t cook. I know, weird for a teacher of home economics and a PhD in food and nutrition. But when you’re married to a kitchen genius you learn to sit down and shut up while the magic happens. Or photograph it!
While hubby was cooking, the sun slowly set over the hills outside. Right now it dips below the horizon at 9 pm, but every day it stays up a little bit longer – like a child with really good nagging power. In two months’ time, it will hardly set at all.
As a treat, here’s a video of the entrée we had. It’s an old favourite of ours that really signals spring and warm days ahead. You don’t really need the scallops – we just threw them in on a whim.
Some fennel soaked in oil and lemon make a delicious salad together with diced peaches, tomatoes and chilli flakes.
Even marinated pork and beer can be poetic.
No evening of grilling is complete without a sh*tload of vegetables.
Don’t forget to add some sun!