New Catch, Holland Herring

For fish fanatics (like me) the arrival of the late Spring catch of fresh herring in Holland is cause for celebration. We have access to it via Russ & Daughters, a fish supplier since 1914. Nowadays, these transactions are done online (Russ’ business was originally from a pushcart).

It appears that there is quite an enthusiastic following in the U.S. for these fish, and the rituals are intriguing. Photos below are from their website.

I have a friend, Dean, who is a fellow seafood lover. Unfortunately, his wife is allergic to all fish and seafood, so he is rarely able to enjoy it. However, I often have occasions when I have seafood and my wife is not interested (e.g. octopus), or her tolerance is small (herring, but only pickled from a jar). Thus, Dean and I have a pact in which he joins me to indulge in my piscatorial excesses, and the new Holland herring was just such an occasion.

I had tried the herring two days before in the manner shown above, where one drops the raw herring in your mouth from above. It’s quite tasty — smooth, rich flavors, full of umami — but I can only eat one or two fillets that way. On the other hand, I find that grilling the fillets with a little olive oil and a touch of fresh basil is supremely delicious, so last week, Dean and I demolished the remaining 10 herring fillets using our preferred methods of imbibing. Here’s what my plate looked like:

Fortunately, Dean also appreciates wine and is curious about different countries and grapes, and I am always happy to oblige. I had three open bottles of white wine in the refrigerator (much more than usual), so we could do a compare and contrast exercise, which was great fun. We tried them in sequence: Landron Muscadet (France), Vermell Xarel-Lo (Spain), and Oddity Wine Collective Riesling/Viognier (AZ). All were good, but the consensus was that the Riesling/Viognier was the best match. Thanks, Aaron!

Our next event will be octopus, I hope!

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