This is my mother’s friend Iria’s recipe. She says this is autumn food in Finland, when the fishing boats anchor near the market places and you can buy really fresh herrings. These are also delicious sandwiched together with the dill and then barbecued in a fish rack over hot coals. Squeeze a lemon over them just before you serve. Whole herrings are also very good on the barbecue, just sprinkled with salt and pepper and then served with lemon juice and olive oil.
To fillet and clean a herring, cut off the head and tail, then open the fish out flat, skin side up. Using your thumb, press down firmly along the backbone. This will nearly release the bones from the flesh. Turn the fish over and use scissors to snip through the backbone at the head and tail. Pull away the backbone, working towards the tail end. Remove any stray small bones with your fingers or tweezers. Cut the fish into two fillets down the back. Wash the fish and pat dry.
Put one piece of fish, skin side down, on a wooden board. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper and put a heap of chopped dill on it. Add two of the thin lemon slices. Put another herring fillet on top of it, skin side up, as if you were making a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining fish.
Put the egg in a dish where you can comfortably turn the herring sandwiches around to coat them completely, then pat them gently with flour.
Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the herrings, turning them over with a pair of tongs when you are sure the underneath is golden and firm. Sprinkle the done side with a little salt and pepper. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
© 2004 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.