The Dutch are famous for eating ‘Dutch new’ or ‘matjes’ herring, which is essentially still raw. Tourists stare with fascinated abhorrence at those strange people who let the fish slide down their throats with extatic expressions on their face. But why would this be any less delicious than eating Japanese sashimi? And the herring is not even completely raw, but gibbed and salted. The proces of gibbing (removing the gills and part of the gullet, but leaving liver and pancreas) was – according to some – ‘invented’ in the fourteenth century by a Dutch fisherman, Willem Beuckelszoon.
This herring salad is made with matjes herring, which is probably not easily available outside of the Netherlands. Wikipedia states that New Dutch herring is the same as soused herring, but since German ‘Rolmops’ (rolled up, pickled herring) also seems to be called ‘soused herring’, I wonder whether that is correct. Rolmops is NOT an alternative for New Dutch. If you have any suggestions, please let me know! The only alternative I can think of, is using smoked mackerel instead of matjes herring, but that will result in a rather different taste.
The basis of the herring salad is boiled potatoes, just like Hussar’s or Russian Salad, or Dutch potato salad. Because herring salad tastes more pronounced than Potato Salad it is wise not to make too much of it if you’re not familiar with your guests’ tastes. And because of the fish, this salad can be kept at most one day. Originally, this dish was not preparted with matjes herring but the more heavily salted pickle herring. More information on pickle herring can be found here (online shortly).
Buffet dish for 4 to 12 persons; preparation in advance 15 minutes + boiling potatoes + decorating the dish.
250 gr (1¾ cup) boiled waxy potatoes, lukewarm to cold
2 herrings (matjes herring)
2 cooked small red beets (peeled)
1 tart apple (Granny Smith), unpeeled
chopped cocktail onions and pickled gherkins to taste
oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, pepper, salt
½ herring cut in long strips
red beet, egg whites and yolks fom hard boiled eggs (apart), pickled gherkins (everything chopped fine separately)
Dice all ingredients for the salad in about 5×5 mm cubes, chop onions and gherkins smaller. Make a vinaigrette by mixing oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, pepper and salt (together about 1/2 cup) and pour over the salad. Mix well. Place the salad in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
This needs a little work. Chop red beets, egg whites and yolks, and gherkins in small pieces.
Arrange the salad on a dish. Form a lozenge-shaped pattern with the herring strips on the salad, fill the spaces with the chopped ingredients, making a colourful mosaic.
I prefer to roast beets in the oven instead of boiling them. Eating red beet causes urine to colour red after eating. No need to be alarmed, it’s just ‘superfluous beet red’ leaving the body.
Traditional Dutch herring Salad with apple and beet