Here is a fact, the world is covered up by 70 percent water. And with all of these waters, the world of course thrived off of it. The waters has given man plenty of delicious fish for all to enjoy. Because of these, different civilizations and countries has developed a culture behind the harvest from the ocean. One of these, is cooking and eating raw fish.
The Dutch, who unlike any other country in the world, lives above water. They, of course, have created a dish based off of the fresh produce from their bountiful waters. They created: Hollandse Nieuwe Haring.
Hollandse Nieuwe Haring or Soused Herring is raw herring soaked in mild preserving liquid. The preserving liquid can be a mild vinegar, a cider, wine or tea. Most recipes includes sugar, herbs, spices and onions as well.
Hollandse Nieuwe Haring or maatjesharing or just maatjes as the Dutch would call is a recipe for young immature herrings. The herrings are ripened for a couple of days in oak barrels in a salty solution, or brine. The pancreatic enzymes which support the ripening make this version of salt herring especially mild and soft. Raw herring pickled in vinegar are called rollmops.
Cooking maatjes traces its roots way back from the Middle Ages. It was developed by the Dutch. Herrings are caught between the end of May and the beginning of July in the North Sea near Denmark or Norway, before the breeding season starts. This is because herrings at this time are unusually rich in oils and their roe and milt have not started to develop.
Unlike any other raw preservation techniques in different parts of the globe, the brine used for Dutch soused herring has a much lower salt content and is much milder in taste than the German Loggermatjes.
Because of the advancement in food science, the EU set a standard of how to preserve and prepare maatjes. To protect against infection by nematodes of the genus Anisakis, European Union regulations state that fish should be frozen at −20 °C for at least 24 hours. Because of this, soused herrings can therefore be produced throughout the year.
Furthermore, the EU has sanctioned the oversight in the production of soused herring. The Dutch made Hollandse Nieuwe, Holländischer Matjes and Hollandse maatjesharing have TSG Certification and German produced Glückstädter Matjes, produced in Schleswig-Holstein has PGI certification.
In the Netherlands soused herring is most often served as a snack, most frequently plain, or with cut onions. Whole herring is often eaten by lifting the herring by its tail and eat it upwards holding it over your mouth. Soused herring dishes in Northern Germany are traditionally served with potatoes boiled in their skins, French beans, finely sliced fried bacon and onions. It is also common in Germany to eat soused herring with sliced raw onions in a bread roll, in a dish called Matjesbrötchen.
There are lots of things and food to discover all over Europe, and it is a must to look for them and enjoy them yourself. So why not plan your next visit in Europe with us in BCN Montjuic Tourist Point. We will be happy to create your European food tour!