Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Herring III -- The Results!

Well, I should have known better.  Ever since I've been getting salted herring from Bavaria Sausage, each and every single fish I've cleaned has contained roe.  But the pictures of roe sacks I showed you -- no they are not.  Turns out they are "milts" or sperm sacks from the males.  I thought the texture was a little off, but I didn't really think much about it because of my past experience with the herring.  I mean, each and every fish I've cleaned, dozens of them. have had roes sacks which look like this:  

Courtesy of Marianna Paavonkallio
Marianna graciously allowed me to use her picture of herring roe and you can visit her excellent website by clicking on the link above.

Here is a picture of what I thought were roe sacks from the fish I cleaned the other day:

 I thought they were a little "off."  They were not quite the right color and the texture was a bit slippery.  But, I didn't think much of it at the time.   When I cut into one, though, ready to show you how I like to spread the roe on bread, I realized that something was askew.  So, I did some research on line and found out that my roe sacks were really milts.  What's a milt?  Milts are the sperm sacks of male herring.  They are, apparently, edible.  And I know they are edible because my dog loved them.  While I was researching, I found a cute story about a couple who enjoyed a herring snack every Saturday night until "something happened."  You can read about it here:

That sperm sack looks like something......hmmm...
Now that the "mystery of the sacks" as been solved, let's get to the good stuff:  eating herring.  Herring can be enjoyed in a number of ways.  You can eat it with boiled potatoes with butter and sour cream.  You can have it in a kind of salad with potatoes and beets called "fur coat," so named because the sour cream spread over the salad resembles a white fur coat.  But my favorite way to enjoy herring is to eat it simply, with rye bread and a little butter. 

The bread pictured is not the correct bread, but it is whole grain and it is on my current diet.  Also it has seeds (caraway), which I like, but seeded bread is not traditional in my family.  To truly enjoy eating herring like a Russian, get the very best quality rye bread you can find.  Try to avoid Americanized, and by this I mean tasteless, bread.  I'll leave the controversial issue of seeds up to you.    


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