Despite sustainability and nutrition advice from Chefs, seafood experts, and nutritionists, smoked herring is too often hard to find in the US, tucked away in the hidden corner of the supermarket. Not so in other countries where herring is immortalized—especially Europe—where herring culture reveres the sacred fish for its taste, versatility, and heart-healthy Omega 3s.
We source our herring from the pure, remote waters of Western Alaska where the fishery is managed sustainably and provides economic support for residents of the remote village of Togiak, Alaska (pop. 857.)
Tasting notes: Smoked herring delivers robust, savory flavor with a rich dose of umami and smoke. Herring is a smaller fish, and after smoking over Alder chips, the skin turns slightly crisp, and the flesh transforms into a rich mahogany brown. The result is a tin of tempting bite-sized morsels that look beautiful right out of the tin or in a pasta dish.
Serve it up: While early American food culture once celebrated the herring, with dishes like the Skully Jo Fish Bake originating from seafood ports such as Gloucester, we recommend any throwback recipes drawing flavor inspiration from herring-worshipping countries. In the UK, smoked herring (or kippers) are often enjoyed for breakfast. In Scandinavian countries, smoked herring is commonly served alongside a simple dill sauce. As is the custom in northern Europe, smoked herring is delicious when paired with potatoes (or with a nice lager or pale ale at the start of the day, à la Ernest Hemingway.)
For a modern approach, take some advice from James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Renee Erickson and serve smoked herring with room-temperature butter, shallots, lemon juice, and cayenne. Or, for something other than a simple pairing, don't be afraid to sub this flavorful fish into familiar dishes, like we do in our recipe for Dirty Rice with Smoked Herring and Andouille. And while we have your attention, try our take on a classic with this Smoked Herring Caesar.
Source: Bristol Bay, Alaska
Harvested: Purse-Seine, Gillnet
Ingredients: Herring, salt, pure cane sugar, garlic, black pepper, all-natural wood smoke