Your Source for All Things Herring...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rav Judah's Small Batch Herring

Here's what Judah has cooking in the kitchen---

Hopped Up Homemade Paprika Herring

                                quilted table runner: Terry Mischel's Handmade Quilts

We had this for shabbat kiddush last week and it was super. You need to pick up a basic matjes at the market-- try to find a well filleted and less salty version.

-finely chop two medium onions
-re-cut the matjes into smaller pieces
-add canola oil
-add in some garlic powder and onion powder
-add a little black pepper
-then add alot of paprika

If you want to switch it up, this is a great way to go...........

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fyvush Finkel Knows Herring

Fyvush Finkel, star of Yiddish theater, television, and Broadway says:
Fyvush Finkel
" I don’t plan to retire; they’ll have to retire me. I want to re-open my revue, Fyvush Finkel Live! My dream is it should have an open-end run, that it should last a while, and people would come to see it.
At the age of 90, I want to make sure that my children are well taken care of when I’m not around, and to guide them, be around, keep them company. And my health! You’ve got to watch the way you eat. My doctor yells at me: “You’ve got to learn to eat like an 80 year old man! You can’t eat like you’re 20!” I watch my diet, try to lower my cholesterol. But of course, every now and then I take a steak. Don’t forget, I‘m Jewish, you gotta have a steak.  And herring. Once in a while, you have to cheat a little."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Herring Stock Depletion A Concern

Have a look at this short video produced by 


Assignment Earth

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Herring Hunt Continues:  Bnei Brak

It was a great week for this Israeli herring lover. My buddy Isaac Perelmuter has been offering to take me to some places he knows well in Bnei Brak. The city of Bnei Brak, east of Tel Aviv, is a heavily haredi community and has the country's highest population density.  We were on the main drag:

The first place we hit was Leibele's, on Rabbi Akiva Street:

This small shop had an outstanding selection of herrings and salads.  We stocked up and polished it all off with the guys on shabbat morning. There were several different matjes herrings to choose from and every one was a winner:

Our second stop was Landau's Fish House. They had quite a bit of herring to offer, served up by some pretty grumpy Russian women. We picked up two more really nice matjes varieties and I scored a bottle of Nemiroff Ukrainian vodka recommended to me by my friend Yishai.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Multimillion  Dollar Surstromming Herring Industry: Stinking Herring Only the Swedes Could Love 


Sweden Has Champagne Aspirations for Its Smelly Fermented Herring

August Tasters Sniff at the Very Thought; Applying to Europe for Protection

ALFTA, Sweden—Lisa Englund probably wasn't thinking straight when she agreed to give Scandinavia's most notorious culinary classic a try.
At summer's end, more than a thousand locals gather in Alfa, Sweden, to eat fermented fish known as Surströmming. WSJ's John Stoll tries out the notoriously smelly fish.
"I've made a promise to my grandmother that I would eat at least one fish," the 21-year-old law-school student said while holding a cracker loaded up with onions, potatoes and pinkish-brown meat. She had just taken the first bite. "I wish I could say I like it, but I really don't."
Sitting in a hockey rink in Alfta, a small farming town nearly three hours north of Stockholm, Ms. Englund was home from college for an annual end-of-summer rite. It is here that 1,300 locals pull out all the stops—drinking, dancing, singing while standing on chairs, and skinny dipping.
But most important, the crowd digs into a meal of nearly rotten Baltic herring known as surströmming. "It smells," Karin Boström Wiklund, the Alfta event's main organizer, admitted while uncovering trays of fermented herring.
The way surströmming is made explains why it smells so bad. Fish caught in the spring off the Gulf of Bothnia coast are packed into a barrel with salty brine that prevents them from rotting entirely. The fish ferment in the barrel for a month or so, aging in a stew of lactic acid bacteria and enzymes.
Surströmming is then sealed in big round cans, with pressure building up so aggressively inside that they bulge at both ends—and sometimes burst.

Sweden's Smelly Culinary Classic

Ola SvärdhagenOla Sv?rdhagen
Opening a can of surströmming is an art, or a science. Some people first punch a small hole in the tin with a can opener, to relieve the pressure. Some advocate submerging the can in water while opening it, just to avoid the strong odor. Some take the can outdoors and open it at arm's length, letting the smell dissipate in the open air, then clean the fish.
The European Union, in recent years, has maintained that surströmming is toxic and has threatened a ban. Swedes, meanwhile, are mounting a campaign to have surströmming treated with the same reverence that is given to caviar, Champagne and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Surströmming has been around for centuries. Unable to afford enough salt to preserve fish over a harsh Nordic winter, Swedes turned to fermentation to keep herring edible, or even a delicious acquired taste.
"I try hard to think of apple sauce when I eat it," Anders Frisk, a 39-year-old who came from the neighboring town Edsbyn to sit with friends around a campfire before the Alfta event. "Really, I'm here for the party."
Despite the stench, Alfta's revelers are among a growing throng of Swedes expected to swallow at least a morsel of the salty fermented herring during the late-summer weeks that constitute surströmming season. Conny Roth, a retired economist who now helps steer the Swedish academy of fermented herring, estimates that about 700,000 cans of the fish will be consumed in 2012.
Mr. Roth said surströmming consumption has been increasing for several years—this despite the attempt by the EU to ban it because of concerns that high levels of dioxin and PCBs found in fermented herring may be hazardous, particularly to pregnant women and children.
Officials in Sweden managed to win a temporary exemption that lasted between 2002 and 2011.
When that expired, the EU granted a permanent exemption with one catch: Sweden needed to inform citizens of the supposed dangers of surströmming. So the government set up a Web page to let people know if the smell or taste didn't bother them, the chemicals might.
Ms. Wiklund, the Alfta party organizer, shrugs off the EU's concerns.
"One would have to eat thousands of fermented herrings for it to be dangerous, so I'm not worried."

Having won a permanent reprieve—a move that preserves a multimillion-dollar industry and saves hundreds of jobs—Swedes are now trying to push it one further. Mr. Roth, along with the academy of fermented herring, is working to get a coveted EU "origin protection" for surströmming.
If successful, only surströmming produced in Sweden could be identified as the genuine article. The academy will submit its application to the EU in the fall, Mr. Roth said.
Despite being a national hero, surströmming remains largely a social outcast.
Airlines have banned surströmming cans onboard, threatening passengers with a $50,000 fine if one should open in the cabin or cargo bay.
Mr. Roth says he now actually likes surströmming and can eat several fish in one sitting. But it wasn't always thus. "Initially, I found both the taste and smell of it despicable, but I figured I had eat it to impress my then-to-be wife," Mr. Roth said. "Gradually over the years, I have learned to love it."
The swanky Sturehof, located in Stockholm's ultraposh Östermalm district, is a popular haunt for bankers, executives, politicians and tourists. When the terrace is converted for its annual surströmming tasting, the place becomes even more popular.
"We're always fully booked the day we serve fermented herring," Ola Stålnacke, the restaurant's head chef, said. Jacob Holmström, head chef at nearby Gastrologik, describes the fish as "fearsome" and "one of the most extreme foods in the world." He doesn't hesitate to use it as a key ingredient in sauces served with raw scallops and crispy radishes.

A version of this article appeared September 4, 2012, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Sweden Has Champagne Aspirations for Its Smelly Fermented Herring.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


brought to you by: 

"The Herring Horde"


Uploaded by  on May 29, 2009
This is The Herring Horde. It is a truly epic, stirring masterpiece. Cower in terror as we relate in majestic orchestral splendour the attempt by the Herring Horde to subjugate the land unto their will!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Herring Entertainment in New York's Time Square!!

As reported in the gothamist on-line:

Herring Ice Cream Cone: Free, Weird Ice Cream At Ripley's Believe It Or Not Today

This is what came up when we searched for "weird ice cream" (Steve Lovegrove / Shutterstock)
Would you eat herring ice cream? Or horseradish ice cream? Well, Ripley's Believe It Or Not! in Times Square will be offering some free—but definitely weird—flavors today.
The attraction says, "To help beat the summer heat, guests visiting the Odditorium from 12pm to 6pm are invited to take a spin on the Wacky Wheel of Ice “Screams” to receive a free sample cone and the chance to earn half-price admission. Filled with outrageous tasting challenges, Ripley’s Wacky Wheel features a variety of shocking flavors such as pizza and curry, a blind taste test, mystery topping, and much more. Guests who successfully complete their designated ice cream tasting (or at least make a valiant effort trying), will receive half-price admission to the museum on Friday, August 17."
The location's general manager Michael Hirsch said, "At Ripley’s Times Square we’ve mastered the unexpected and with flavors like horseradish…people will literally scream for ice cream." Apparently theflavors will also include mustard and pickle! Quick, tell your pregnant friends!

An Unbelievably Sweet Dare on August 17 at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square 

Eat Pickle, Mustard, Herring Ice Cream and More

Wacky Wheel of Ice “Screams” Challenges Adventurous Eaters to Earn Half-Price Admission
wacky-wheel-ripleys-nycBelieve It or Not! Ripley’s Times Square is scooping up freeice cream cones for visitors on Friday, August 172012…but don’t expect the standard vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.

To help beat the summer heat, guests visiting the Odditorium from 12pm to 6pm are invited to take a spin on the Wacky Wheel of Ice “Screams” to receive a free sample cone and thechance to earn half-price admission. Filled with outrageous tasting challenges, Ripley’s Wacky Wheel features a variety of shocking flavors such as pizza and curry, a blind taste test, mystery topping, and much more. Guests who successfully complete their designated ice cream tasting (or at least make a valiant effort trying), will receive half-price admission to the museum on Friday, August 17.

“At Ripley’s Times Square we’ve mastered the unexpected and with flavors like horseradish…people will literally scream for ice cream,” said Michael Hirschpresident and general manager of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square. “What better way to escape the hot, humid, dog days of summer than a frozen treat and discounted admission to 18,000 square feet of icy cold air conditioning and unbelievable exhibits?”

Ice cream samples available while supplies last. Discount cannot be combined with any other offer. 

Thanks to Moish Epstein for the heads up on this one!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Key To Success Begins With Herring!!!!

Journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s  must-read book of the season is Outliers and is subtitled The Story of Success. It looks at a variety of people deemed “successful”, including Bill Gates, wealthy Jewish lawyers, sports stars and the Beatles. It tries to determine what factors besides inborn talent made their success possible and tries  to explain why some people succeed way more than others. 

In an on-line book review by Leon Malinovsky:  “Nature versus nurture. It’s among the oldest debates in history and lies at the heart of what Outliers is about. Gladwell’s position is unambiguous. “I’m a big-time nurturist,” he says. “I don’t mean to deny the role that your own personal characteristics and talent play, but I’m trying to layer on what I think the other critical factors are.” Those factors include “hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies,” he writes.

Chapter 5 [The Three Lessons of Joe Flom] tells the tale of attorney Joseph Flom, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom. According to Gladwell, Flom did not succeed through hustle and ability but rather by virtue of his origins. Intelligence, personality and ambition were not enough, but had to be coupled with origins in a Jewish culture in which hard work and ingenuity were encouraged, and in fact a necessary part of life. This, along with having to scrabble in a firm cobbled together out of necessity because Jews were not hired by white-shoe law firms, gave the partners and unusual and timely expertise: Flom's firm decided it had to take hostile takeover cases when no one else would, and that turned Flom and his partners into experts in a kind of legal practice just beginning to boom when they hit their stride.”

Guess what lesson 3 was about? You got it—Herring!!! Here is an excerpt:
“In 1889, Louis and Regina Borgenicht boarded an ocean liner in Hamburg bound for America. Louis was from Galicia, in what was then Poland. Regina was from a small town in Hungary. They had been married only a few years and had one child and a second on the way. For the thirteen-day journey, they slept on straw mattresses on a deck above the engine room, hanging tight to their bunk beds as the ship pitched and rolled…….. Louis and Regina found a tiny apartment on Eldridge Street, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, for $8 a month. Louis then took to the streets, looking for work. He saw peddlers and fruit sellers and sidewalks crammed with pushcarts……He went to his sister’s fish store on Ludlow Street and persuaded her to give him a consignment of herring on credit. He set up shop on the sidewalk with two barrels of fish, hopping back and forth between them and chanting in German:
‘For  frying, For baking, For cooking.  Good also for eating.  Herring will do for every meal, and for every class!
By the end of the week, he had cleared $8. By the second week $13.”
The most critical lesson—HERRING!

Thanks to Rav Elie for the heads up on this story!!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Here's a little herring fun we whipped up in the kitchen today. Creamed herring is not very easily found in the supermarkets around Modiin. With the exception of a non-dairy (pareve) variety that is found everywhere, there really isn't much around lately.

Most people here are into the matjes and schmaltz type of herrings. The well-liked creamed versions found in the US are not typically found here.

For a brief period we were really enjoying Kiddush Club herring, a boutique producer from Efrat, but they haven't been active lately. They had creamed herrings available with different levels of fat content and everybody was loving it.

So we decided, for a little change of pace, to do our own creamed herring thing at home. It was quite easy and took very little time - the results were great!

Here's how its done:

Start with some basic homestyle pickled herring. Drain it off, wash it and chuck the limp onion ring slices.

Finely dice two medium sized onions 

 Take the herring and cut it down into bite size pieces. Trim off any extra skin and mix with the onions.

 Pick a nice sour cream with a fat content that works for you. We went with 9%. Stir it in.

Add some apple cider vinegar. You don't need alot. Also add in some pepper, a little dill, and garlic powder.

Stir it all up and let it marinade in the frig.

Now bang it back with some good bourbon (or scotch if you must)!!!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Herring in the Movies

From the 1959 classic: 'Some Like it Hot'

Some Like It Hot Movie Poster

In the scene where Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis are on board the yacht he points out the difference between the fore and aft of the yacht, explaining that it depends on: "whether you're coming or going." Fancy servingware, candles, and a midnight snack are set out. When she points out a large trophy fish mounted high up on the wall, he pops the cork on the bottle of champagne and explains how the effects of alcohol deflate size:

Sugar: [admiring a large fish trophy] What is it? 
Junior: It's a member of the herring family. 
Sugar: A herring? Isn't it amazing how they get those big fish into those little glass jars? 
Junior: They shrink when they're marinated. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Herring Depletion Problems?

"If you don’t have a good stock of herring, nothing else is going to stick around”


Odd Alliance Is Forged Over Access to Herring

Chris Becker for The New York Times
Crew members on the Western Sea, a fishing boat owned by Glenn Robbins, prepare the gear for their two-day voyage in the Gulf of Maine.
PORTLAND, Me. — There is no great love between Glenn Robbins, a bright-eyed third-generation fisherman, and the environmental lobby. Mr. Robbins grew up trapping Atlantic herring in cotton nets strung up in craggy coves off the Gulf of Maine. These days, he casts a net off a 104-foot boat, but catch restrictions limit those trips to twice a week, he says.
Pat Wellenbach/Associated Press
Environmentalists and traditional fisherman are concerned that trawlers’ efficiency is depleting herring stocks and depriving other animals of a critical food source.
Chris Becker for The New York Times
Environmental agencies have recently placed restrictions on herring fishing.
Chris Becker for The New York Times
Mr. Robbins, a third-generation fisherman, worked with advocacy organizations to impose the new restrictions.
If he can’t go out for herring, he fishes for lobster, and he serves as a deacon in a Baptist church. Mr. Robbins is a staunch skeptic of global warming.
So it was supremely odd, he said, to find himself working with advocacy organizations like the Pew Environment Group as the New England Fishery Management Council recently imposed new regulations on the herring fishery.
The issue at hand was about 30 large boats that use nets as big as a football field to scoop up hundreds of thousands of pounds of herring, a cheap fish often used for bait. Called midwater trawlers, they fish at a much higher volume than the purse seine nets used by operators of herring boats like Mr. Robbins’s, and they account for 98 percent of the roughly 100,000 tons of herring caught annually in New England waters, according to the council.
Their appearance in New England about 10 years ago alarmed both environmentalists and traditional fisherman, who are concerned that the trawlers’ efficiency is depleting herring stocks and depriving other fish, birds and sea mammals of a critical food source.
“They’re on the bottom of the food chain. Everything eats the herring — the whales, the mammals, the birds. If you don’t have a good stock of herring, nothing else is going to stick around,” said Mr. Robbins, who used to operate a trawler but does not anymore.
The new rules require midwater trawlers to have independent observers on every trip, and establish guidelines for weighing and sampling their haul. Such measures can help fishery managers get a better idea of whether the trawlers are depleting herring stocks and taking other species with them, as some fishermen and environmentalists insist. The new rules will also allow the council to cap the amount of river herring that trawlers looking for sea herring can scoop up by accident.
“While we’re trying to rebuild cod stocks and keep small boats alive, reintroducing industrial-scale fishing is a really bad idea, and doing it without any monitoring is real folly,” said Peter Baker, the director of Northeast Fisheries Program for the Pew Environment Group.
The alliance between groups like Mr. Baker’s and traditional fishermen is unusual, given that the two sides have battled fiercely over catch limits on other fisheries. “I had to get into bed with those guys,” said Mr. Robbins, indignantly, standing outside the meeting where the fishery management council voted to adopt the rules. “I don’t like it,” he added. “They want to save everything.”
Steve Weiner, who uses a harpoon to catch bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine, was another uneasy ally. “I would say Pew was one of the primary organizations leading that charge, which would have put us out of business,” he said, before chatting cordially over lunch with Mr. Baker during a break in the herring meeting.
But this issue, Mr. Weiner said, is fundamental enough to unite both sides. “It’s so obvious, the damage that was done,” he said. “These guys would come into small areas where we’d been tuna fishing, ground fishing, whale watching, where there is a lot of herring, and just fish, fish, fish. We call it localized depletion.”
Despite anecdotal accounts of localized supply problems, current assessments of Atlantic sea herring do not show major depletions in the overall stock since the midwater trawlers began harvesting the fish. The most recent assessment of Atlantic herring, released by the council in 2010, did not project that the stock would be overfished.
Eoin Rochford, who used to operate trawlers and now runs a factory that freezes herring, said that the assault on this corner of the industry amounts to a “witch hunt” and that the midwater trawler fleet is actually good for the ocean.
“These fish are the most abundant fish in the ocean,” he said. “ To keep the ecosystem in balance, somebody has to harvest them.”
Mr. Rochford is hopeful that the new observer requirements will prove that the midwater trawlers operate a clean fleet.
But traditional fishermen say they will continue the standoff, convinced the data will back up their anecdotal evidence.
“As a fisherman who spends his time observing, noticing, what we have observed is a very bad situation,” Mr. Weiner said. “A lot of times in commercial fishing, there’s a saying: don’t speak against another fisherman. But there’s times where you can’t do that, and this is one of them.”