Friday, February 10, 2012

Herring on Toast

Along with oil and gold, fish is a natural resource with skyrocketing prices. That is, the fish breeds that are natural resources, caught wild rather than farmed. There was King Salmon at the grocery store recently for $32.- per pound. It was beautiful, glistening, beckoning. I looked through the cases for other wild fish, skimming over the farmed fish, noticing farmed salmon topped at around $7.- per pound. Finally, I found shiny, lovely piles of Herring and Sardines. They were $4.- a pound, affordable for the family of fish lovers. A friend from our neighborhood wine shop Red Feet, who was born and raised in Spain, was buying some Herring. We talked about people's intimidation of these tiny, rich, nutrient packed and as yet not totally over fished little breeds.
They are small, they do have a lot of bones and they are more pungently oily than more popular fish like salmon or cod. But, the bones are easy to clean, and they are delicious fried, really! And that pungent, oily presence is the density of omega's, the great gift from the sea that is so good for our bodies and especially our brains.
The nutritious and affordable Herring is a staple when we can get it. Craig makes variations on this and keeps it sealed tight in the fridge. It is a wonderful way to start the day, or as a pick me up in the afternoon. I had some on toast for breakfast, along with a fried egg and felt like Wonder Woman for all the rich, silky protein.

4 fresh herring filleted

mix together-
3 tbs kosher salt
2 tbs sugar
1 bay leaf crumbled
about 1 tsp crushed sechuan pepper

3 sheets of kombu soaked in cold water to rehydrate. then pat dry.

pat the filets dry and roll in the mix until generously coated.

lay a sheet of kombu on a plate. lay 4 of the fillets, side by side. cover with another sheet of kombu and lay the next 4 herring fillets. cover with the 3rd sheet of kombu. wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

after the initial cure, take the herring out of the fridge, rinse and wipe dry. serve sliced thin over pan toasted country bread with sweet fresh butter and thin sliced scallions. also great with creme fraiche!

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