Herrings live in the chill waters that surround the Scandinavian coast. Some people have them for lunch daily; they are an important part of meals at special occasions such as Easter, too. Serve three or four different kinds of herrings at one meal and eat them on rye bread with sliced raw onion and dill on top.
500ml spirit vinegar
300g caster sugar
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
4 bay leaves
12 fresh herring fillets
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 bunch dill, chopped
200g rye flour
2 onions, sliced
COMBINE ALL THE INGREDIENTS for the brine in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
TO PREPARE THE HERRING, cut off the little fin on the back side of each fillet. In a small bowl, mix the Dijon mustard and dill together. Spread out the rye flour on a tray or large plate.
PLACE THE HERRING FILLETS SKIN-SIDE DOWN in the flour, pressing them down a bit so that the flour sticks to them. Spread 1 tsp of the mustard mixture over each herring and fold them over so that the fillets form a square sandwich. Make sure the skin is covered in rye flour.
HEAT THE BUTTER in a frying pan and cook the herring for 3–5 minutes on each side, depending on size.
PLACE THE COOKED HERRINGS in a large plastic box, laying them side by side. Scatter the sliced onions over the herrings, then cover with the brine and leave to marinate for 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
PHOTO BY Lars Ranek