domingo, 30 de novembro de 2008
Scandinavian late night snack: pickled herring and lumpfish eggs on 'white' blini
Herring is a very popular fish here in Norway. It is an everyday fish which is eaten mostly pickled and served for breakfast. Sweet-sour pickled herring is a breakfast food. However, I must confess, I can't eat herring for breakfast. I can't have fish for breakfast at all. My darling Per used to eat herring and fish for breakfast but have dropped the habit to please and avoid cultural shock with his multicultural family. Our kids don't like to have herring for breakfast either, actually they don't like having herring at all. For me it is cultural, I just can't stand the strong smell of fish being served with yogurt, honey, jams, fruits and cups of coffee and milk.
But there is more to this family than cultural shock. Outside breakfast time I eat a lot of herring and I simply adore pickled herring with lots of onions. Actually I dare say that pickled herring is one of the most delicious fish served in Norway and I regularly serve it at night, as an adult snack. Herring fits perfectly with a diverse selections of white wines and mostly with vodka, preferably Finnish vodka 'Finlandia' or Swedish 'Absolute'.
I made some white blini (with wheat and not buckwheat flour) and served the herring with a sour cream based sauce and a small spoonful of lump fish eggs (Cyclopterus lumpus). Lump fish eggs are very popular in the entire Scandinavia and this one is produced in Sweden. Lump fish is a bottom fish found in the both sides of the North Atlantic and the eggs we ate last night came from the coast of Iceland.
Blini are easy to make, light, delicious and fit with the Norwegian way of eating herring which is on white bread or on the extra thin 'leaf bread'. Norwegians normally eat dark whole grain breads, ultra dark and the darkest breads in the planet but herrings are preferably served on white bread over a line of butter and with a spoonful of sour cream. For this reason I started to serve herring on white blini, made of wheat flour only. To the sour cream I add some garlic, chives, parsley, extra virgen olive oil and salt and pepper to make a sauce and finish with the lump eggs.
This snack is pretty easy to make since I buy the herring ready to be served. Some people here fish their fish and deliver their catch to special places where they can have their trouts, salmons or herrings smoked, salted or pickled. A lot of people do it around here but we are not exactly fishing people in this house. Well, Per would love to spend his days fishing and eating him own catch only but reality bites. The herring we find in the market is very good and pretty fresh. Herring can be found fresh, in mustard sauce, pickled, in tomato sauce, in pepper sauce, in oil, fermented, smoked or salted and dried. Herring make a really delicious late night snack, to eat while watching a movie when it is snowing outside.
White blini with pickled herring and lump fish eggs
For the white blini:
2 cups wheat flour
1 table spoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs room temperature
1 cup lukewarm milk
Sift flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Beat eggs as to make an omelet. Add beaten eggs to flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add milk, slowly, mixing well to make a very homogeneous batter. Butter a non adherent frying pan with butter, removing the excess with paper towel and add small spoonfuls of batter. Let it cook until golden one side (around two minutes) and turn around to cooked the other side. The blini will look like a very small butter-less slightly inflated pancake.
Sour cream sauce:
1 cup of sour cream, creme fraiche(crème fraîche) or whole yogurt
1 'boat' of garlic grained
1 table spoon extra virgem olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mix garlic and olive oil to cream and mix well to incorporate and soften the sour cream. Add chives, parsley, salt and pepper and mix again. Serve the blini with a spoonful of sauce, a slice of fish and a small spoonful of lump fish eggs on top.