Christmas Luncheon with Several Kinds of Herring

Between Christmas and New Years Eve, many Danes have a little vacation. They use the time to invite friends and family they haven’t seen at Christmas to a Christmas luncheon. These luncheons start with herring and a herring open-face sandwich requires a snaps/aquavit. A buffet will usually have three or for types of herring to choose from. Many from other countries than Denmark say that herring is raw and they won’t eat raw fish. (Maybe sushi) That’s a shame because although herring is not cooked, it has be pickled. That is to say,  when the fish has been caught and cleaned, it is salted for at least 30 days and up to a year. After the herring has been salted, it is watered down with cold water. Then a marinade of vinegar, sugar and spices is made  and the herring is placed in this marinade, thereby curing the fish. Jars of marinated herring can be found whole foods markets, Trader Joes, Ikea, farmers markets and health food stores.DSC_0037












Marinated Herring with Pickled Red Onions

Makes 4 

3-4 large herrings from a glas*

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled onions taste best made the day before. They will keep in the refrigerator up to three weeks.

Makes 1 cup 

4 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Bring vinegar, salt, and 1 cup water to boil in a small saucepan.

Remove from heat. Stir in onion. Let cool. Drain before serving.

To serve, roll a herring fillet and place on a plate. Place a spoonful of pickled red onions in the middle. Place a few slices of Danish rye bread on the plate and garnish with cress. 

*There are many kinds of marinades for herring such as spiced, sherry, port wine, herbs and many, many more.

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