Herring is a fish. An overlooked fish in the shadow of its more glamorous neighbor, salmon, or its more utilitarian chicken of the sea neighbor, tuna.
Tuna has gotten so gross and mercury laden I decided to look for a lower mercury laden fish and lo and behold, on the bottom shelf under the tuna are herring and anchovies and kippers (which are herring anyway). I decided to try a few and though some are unappetizing, the herring in hot sauce seemed to be a happy compromise price and taste wise. Now, how to use them?
I rinse my hot sauce-soaked herring in a strainer. This removes the sauce and hotness but leaves a little tang behind. It also gets rid of the saltiness that comes with many canned items. I mix it with cream cheese and either cukes or apple. Today it was apple. Season to taste. The canned fish I'd mentioned such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, and kippers are a good alternative to tuna and are cost effective, while offering some fiber and protein.
You can use the mixture as a dip with crackers but today I used it as a spread on lightly fried bread. The local store had marked down a loaf which expired the day I bought it, and since I didn't use the bread for another two days, sometimes frying or toasting stale bread is a good way to give it new life.
By the way, I always buy any red sticker item. If it's marked down, I buy it. On Friday I emerged with three heavy bags of groceries of all dairy, fruit, and vegetables, for $16. The bread I mentioned, (it can be toasted), the mushrooms will go into a quiche, the apples were fine, the oranges will be cut up and used to infuse water, the potatoes were fine, the bananas will be made into muffins, the tomatoes were fine except for one that was a bit soft so I cooked it for dinner, and so on. With only one exception the marked down produce I buy either at the local store or Kroger has been perfectly fine, especially if I eat it or cook it within a day. The sole exception was a cellophane box of kiwis that were actually brown skinned water balloons. Oh, well, they were only $1. Take a chance, people. We mark down or throw away more good food than many poverty-stricken people see in a lifetime.
Back to herring spread on bread. I put enough oil on the bottom of the pan just to coat the pan. I used olive oil this time but any oil will suffice, depending on your own taste preferences.
It won't take long and when one side is done I flip and wait until they are golden brown.
Oops, it seems my coil has a hot spot. That, or my pan wasn't centered, as one of the slices is a lot more brown than it should be! It will still be good. Spread the herring spread on the toast and even though there is apple in the mixture I added a couple slices on the top. The cool apple contrasted with the hot sauce still lurking in the herring, and it was good.
Not wanting to waste, since this is frugal cooking after all, I sliced the rest of my small apple and used it for garnish on the side. Not all that pretty, but functional. Perish the thought I'd be garnish-less.
A hot cup of Rooibos on the side and I was good to go. I had a healthy, protein laden lunch that used a frugally priced bread in a way that didn't cost a lot, didn't take long to prepare, and was pretty tasty.
Don't be afraid to try some of those weird canned fishes you see on the store shelves. They're reasonably priced so if you don't like them or can't eat them, you won't be wasting a bunch of money. If you do like them, then bonus, you've added a protein to the rotation of recipes and saved yourself from mercury madness to boot.
Tinned fish recipes
Kippers are back in favor