Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

June 12, 2010

Fresh Herring Festival


Matjes herring
Herring salad
Salmon roe
Blini and sour cream
Flying fish eggs with scallops
Anderson Aquavit
Apremont, 2009
Vin de Savoie, Pierre, Boniface
Dessert: Häagendas ice cream

Once a year, in early June, matjes, Dutch maiden herring that has not yet spawned, appear in the North Sea. Lightly cured, the young herring reaches its optimal fat content and is hailed for its distinct buttery richness. To herald their arrival, the Dutch Queen gives her blessing to the first barrel of Hollandse Nieuwe at the port of Scheveningen where the herring fleet makes its home.

With similar fanfare, New York’s Oyster Bar has been celebrating the “nieuwe maatjes” with a two week festival for the past 37 years. Since we couldn’t come to the matjes, I took the matjes home, together with one order of the Oyster Bar’s matjes herring salad. To expand the feast, I added salmon roe, blini and sour cream, plus my sister-in-law Jane’s flying fish eggs with scallops. Pumpernickel, rye bread and crackers did the rest.

Boned and butterflied, with the tail attached, the official way to eat the herring is to tilt your head back and let the matjes glide down your throat. It’s an acquired skill we leave to the Dutch.

True to its reputation, the fatty, slightly sweet matjes was the winner. The herring salad was a runner-up. The salmon roe offered a nice contrast to the herring, while Jane’s dish added a touch of mystery. We toasted the event with a shot of Aquavit after which we switched to Apremont, a white wine from the Savoie region of France, recommended by Jo from Mister Wright. It was an excellent choice.

Grand Central Oyster Bar (212) 490--6650
Grand Central Terminal

Mister Wright Fine Wines and Spirits (212) 722-4564


Lana said...

I know this blog called "my dinner with George", but next time you have this menu I'd like to be invited. Besides containing couple of my favorite dishes like: Salmon roe,
Blini and sour cream I'd like to try the rest as well. All sounds really delicious.

Our Daily Dinner said...


Any time. Ask Popka to do blinis. I'm sure he is a pro.