Smoked Herring Is a Versatile Comfort Food

Vacuum-packed smoked herring are a Chowhound home favorite, according to a recent discussion thread. Take bushwickgirl, who says that "smoked herring, crackers and beer on a Saturday afternoon makes you happy you're alive." You can serve herring this way with butter, sour cream, or cream cheese.

Others bake or stew the skinned, boned fillets in a sauce (they're very salty, so taste before adding extra salt). Joebob puts the fish in an oven-proof dish, covers with heavy cream, and bakes until it thickens. Smoked herring is popular in the West Indies, where it is a "major comfort food," jen kalb says.

Chowhound user mixamillion makes a West Indian–style stew by browning onions, then adding pieces of the herring and canned tomatoes and simmering. Served over polenta, it's a classic. iheartfood makes something similar but tosses it with pasta, tempering the saltiness by first simmering the smoked herring for 20 minutes, then draining and rinsing. This treatment also makes removing the bones easier, iheartfood notes.

Discuss: What to do with smoked herring?
How Do *You* Serve Smoked Herring?

Photo of smoked herring on cracker by Flickr member hr.icio in Creative Commons