Smoked Herrings
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What you need to know about Smoked Herring

There are many varieties of smoked or salty fish at the markets and stores and each of them with a unique taste. That unique taste comes from the type of fish or meat used during the salting and smoking process. If you’re a little bit of a no-fuss cook, you may be tempted to try something new. 

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Smoked Herrings served with tomatoes, boiled beets, boiled plantains and cucumbers

How Smoked Herrings is used in the Caribbean

Smoked Herring is used in the Caribbean in many different ways. When added to vegetable stews and salads, cooked in rice, bulgur wheat, cornmeal, eggs, or any other types of foods, it provides an exquisite taste and a subtle fish aroma. As an appetizer, you can create many dishes, from fritters, to dip and even a spread. Used the same way as salt fish, this wonderful tasty fish provides tons of flavor and cooks very quickly. 

Herrings are found in many parts of the world. It may even be considered staple seafood in many cultures. Herring are forage fish with a long history and are often sold salted, smoked, or pickled. Herrings are marketed both as delicacies and everyday foods. 

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Where to buy 

Whole or fillet Smoked Herring are sold in West Indian markets, specialty food markets, local markets, and Amazon. You can also find pickled herrings in specialty stores as well as canned. 

How to buy

Buying smoked herrings can be as easy as buying bread. Either buy whole or fillets. You will often find whole herrings with both tail and head-on. Fillets are sold boneless or with bones. The bones are soft but not edible. 

Whole skinned herrings sometimes have a thin layer of extra salt. It is better to rinse them before soaking them. No matter how you buy your herring, it should always look fresh and not stale. Always make sure to check for “the best use by date.”  

Canned or jarred are sold in specialty stores and as well as several locals to gourmet markets. Usually filleted, they are used differently in recipes than their counterparts. Filleted, canned, and jarred are usually more expensive than whole herrings. 

How to use 

Depending on the recipe, you may have to rinse and de-salt the herrings, the same process used for salt fish. The desalting can be done in two ways: a quick boil or a soak the herrings for a few hours in water. Overnight soaking is not recommended as all the salt may be entirely removed. If very salty, it is recommended to soak the fish for as long as you need it to be desalted. 

Preparation for cooking

Depending on the type, you may want to remove any scaling, skin, and bones from the whole herring. Some fillets may still have a few bones in them. Remove gently with a pair of kitchen shears. 

Adding salt to the recipe is not necessary. If you add salt, the dish will be ruined and will be salty. It is best to use a salt-free seasoning like Noubess Fish and Seafood Seasoning or fresh herbs and spices. 

Facts about Smoked Herrings

  • Hypertension sufferers have said that their blood pressure increases even after desalting smoked and salted fish completely. That goes even for salted codfish or bacalao
  • The smell is very strong. Always keep the smoked fish well wrapped. It might make everything smell in your refrigerator. Open your windows when cooking and let the fresh air in. You may also want to have a pot of water with vinegar boiling while cooking your herrings. Many people claim that it helps remove the smell in the kitchen. 
  • Some people will boil the herrings in milk instead of water. Any difference? It is only a preference. 
  • Tomatoes, thyme, hot peppers, and onions are perfect companions for herrings. 
  • The flavor is unique! Smoky, fishy with a hint of salt,
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Smoked Herrings served with tomatoes, boiled beets, boiled plantains and cucumbers

Herring is a great addition to many foods. Add it to grains dishes such as rice, bulgur wheat, or cornmeal for a complete meal. Cook it with lots of onions, tomatoes, and fresh herbs for a quick and easy meal.

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