A slim, silvery fish without a lateral line.
Baltic herring is the same fish, but smaller and thinner.
Herring tastes best when absolutely fresh, but unfortunately this is when it’s hard to clean. It’s a good idea to gut it and then fry or grill it as it comes. Whole fish can be char-grilled: Sprinkle fine salt on the base of a cast iron pan and char the skin with little or no fat. The pan needs to be hot enough to make the salt “jump” – Teflon won’t do the job.
Machine-filleted fish from the shop is the easy option but the downside is that quite a bit of the flavor will have been lost in the process.
You can treat herring the way you would treat sardines: With olive oil, lemon, sea salt, chili and leaf parsley on a griddle above a charcoal grill, etc.
When buying pickled herring or herring preserved in other ways, you get value for money if you buy from a local supplier who’s an expert and performs their craft on a small scale using authentic ingredients. Compare this with industrially produced versions and you’ll soon spot the difference.
Herring you pickle yourself is best after 2 to 7 days and will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.
Coated in rye flour and fried, with melted butter and luxuriously smooth mashed potato.
Herring has green status. Baltic herring is yellow but stocks seem to be on the way up again after depletion in the 1970s.