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Pickled herring parfait Savoury, piquant herring parfait is a popular alternative for the more traditional herring dishes served in Finland, usually during the Christmas period, Midsummer or May Day.

The ice-cold parfait may be served with hot boiled potatoes, as a part of other cold fish hors d'œuvre.

200 g Matjes herring fillets *)
50 - 75 g finely chopped onion and chives
chopped fresh dill
150 ml cream
250 ml smetana
50 ml Finnish Koskenkorva Viina or Russian vodka (Stolichnaya, Russian Standard)

Wipe the herring fillet(s) dry and finely chop them with a sharp knife. Whip the cream and smetana in separate bowls until soft peaks form. Mix the chopped herring, onion, chives and dill in the smetana.

Finally, gently fold in the whipped cream and the spirit. Do not overmix, or the mixture may separate. Pour the mixture in a large enough parfait mould, or a round or rectangular cake mould, rinsed with cold water. You can also use smaller, individual moulds. Cover the mould(s) and place in freezer until frozen.

Unmould the parfait by dipping the mould briefly upside down into hot water. Quickly wipe the mould dry with a towel and turn it onto serving plate: the parfait should easily slide out of the mould.

Pickled herring parfait The mould may also be carefully warmed with a hairdryer to help loosen the parfait. Serve the unmoulded parfait immediately or place in freezer to wait for the serving time. Garnish with lemon wedges, red onion rings, dill sprigs, etc.

The parfait may also be served readily sliced or scooped into balls like ice cream.

*) Skinned and filleted herring cured in spiced sugar-vinegar brine.

Recipe source: adapted from "Sillijäädyke", Helsingin Sanomat/Ruokatorstai, 2001.


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