Herring rolls

“All the housewives in the country should be on the habit of acquiring at least one barrel of salted herring for the winter. The barrel must be stored in a cold place, for if the herring goes rancid it will not make good food. It is our duty, Icelandic housewives, to ensure that more is eaten of the herring than is now the case, this wholesome, fine food, which is caught in such abundance off our shores.”
Foreword to the chapter on herring dishes in 160 fiskréttir (160 fish dishes) by Helga Sigurðardóttir.

Helga Sigurðardóttir was Iceland’s version of Mrs. Beeton. She was not only a cook book author whose books can be found in many Icelandic homes, but also a cooking teacher . Several of the recipes on this blog originally came from one or another of her cookbooks, whether altered or unchanged. In the following weeks I will be posting a selection of dishes from this book, beginning with that gem of a fish, the herring.

2 salted herrings
2 bunches fresh dill, chopped
200 ml white vinegar
150 ml water
2 ½ tbs sugar
1/3 tsp pepper (in old Icelandic cookbooks ‘pepper’ usually means ground white pepper, as I am sure it does here)

Clean the herrings, fillet them and remove skin and bones. De-salt in cold water for 18 hours. Remove and pat dry. Sprinkle the dill over the fillets, roll them up tightly and tie off with cotton string. Put into a jar. Mix together the vinegar, water, sugar and pepper and pour over the herring rolls. Close the jar and let the herring marinate in a cool place for several hours. Cut the rolls into slices and serve, e.g. as canapés.


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