Who’s for Fish Salad?

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Schmandheringsalat, a typical German dish, prepared and preserved in the home, is a great addition to any table, without breaking the bank.

Schmandheringsalat is just one example of the many compound German words that join together to provide not just a name, but an entire description of the dish. Schmandheringsalat, in the German language literally means German Herring Salad or ‘Germanherringsalad.’

It’s a nice cultural touch, if a little long-winded, but it’s often good to know upfront exactly what something entails, like Oberammergaueralpenkräuterdelikatessenfrühstückskäse, a deli-style cheese with mountain herbs from Oberammergau, usually eaten for breakfast.

German food appeals to the taste buds with its sharp flavours, tangy sauces and, above all, very large portions. However, this creamy salad is also a great addition to a healthy diet. Yes, German cuisine is not famous for its dietary ingredients, and the dish does contains both cream and sour cream, but Omega 3-rich herring, raw onion and ripe tangy apple, are certainly healthy aspects of this otherwise slightly heavier salad.

The trick to German Herring Salad is to find the Herring that you prefer, whether that is particularly salty, oily, fresh or soaked in brine. The rest is simple. As long as you leave enough time for the salad to sit it the fridge, (about 2 hours), giving the herring enough time to infuse with the cream for an extra strong flavour.

Mixing apple with onion might not be anyone’s first choice for a salad, but Schmandheringsalat combines the two perfectly and with ease. Simply fold roughly chopped onion and apple into a bowl of 1/2 thick whipping cream, and 1/2 sour cream and put in the refrigerator for 2 hours. The herring can also be folded into the mixture at this point, according to your personal taste.  Adding the fish to the cream for two hours will dramatically alter the flavour of the sauce, if your chosen herring is particularly salty or seasoned.

Personally, I prefer the additional fishy flavour to the sauce, especially when the fish has been lightly salted. Think strong, tangy, Russian salad or Coleslaw with pungent fish. That sounds like a winning combination to me.

Adding paprika and black pepper is also traditional seasoning of the Schmandheringsalat, and can be added before or after refrigeration, according to taste. This flavoursome salad is extremely versatile and can be eaten on its own as a quick snack, perhaps with crisp breads or pita, but in traditional German style this would be served with boiled potatoes or crusty German bread.

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