A valiant effort to revive an old-school favorite in Seattle: Through Sunday, lots of favorite spots are featuring special herring dishes. Here's where you can sample some.
Wild herring is an incredible seafood resource: abundant, affordable, sustainable, healthy and super-tasty. Why aren’t we eating more of it? Lexi (she just goes by that) of the Old Ballard Liquor Co. started Northwest Herring Week last year to try to make this little fish a bigger deal.
Year two is taking place right now, through Sunday, June 26, with special herring dishes at favorite Seattle spots, including Little Uncle, Revel, Terra Plata, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Old Ballard Liquor Co. (where you can eat herring while drinking local aquavit or vodka — proper!). A short list of valiant retailers are also stocking herring — it fell so far out of favor, it’s barely sold around here these days. Nor is it fished; the herring for Northwest Herring Week comes from Alaska, and getting a fishery going again here is one of the goals. A similar herring-effort is under way in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, the movement is not without its complications: Herring stocks in certain areas have declined dramatically (and, alarmingly enough, for reasons unknown), which shows evidence of impacting entire ecosystems. But, researchers say, the best way to address that is to put more herring — lower on the food chain, at a higher price — into the mouths of people, rather than the mouths of farmed salmon, pigs and chicken (often fed herring and other small fish in the form of pellets or fishmeal).
Let’s do/eat this, people! Here’s a recipe from Lexi for trying herring at home.
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Creamed Smoked Herring
½ cup sour cream
½ cup cream cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
½ teaspoon salt
Drain the can of herring. Gently tap out the fish and remove the spine bones, being careful to keep the pieces as large as possible. Cream the cream cheese, sour cream, salt, lemon zest and juice together until smooth. Stir in the chives. Gently fold in the chunks of smoked herring, keeping the pieces as large as possible. Serve with crackers or toasts, or use as a stuffing for flounder or halibut.