Despite of its name, cobbler's salmon is made with Baltic herring, not salmon.
It is traditionally made with whole salted Baltic herrings soaked in water, but in this recipe fresh, unsalted fillets are used instead.
The fillets are first salted in light salt brine and then pickled in vinegar marinade.
about 400 g fresh small Baltic herring fillets
1 small yellow or red onion
yellow mustard seeds
whole allspice berries
500 ml fresh, cold water
1½ tbsp spirit vinegar (10 %)
1 tbsp natural, fine-textured sea salt
200 ml fresh, cold water
50 ml spirit vinegar (10 %)
3 tbsp sugar
Before handling the fish, make sure your hands and all the dishes and utensils used are squeaky-clean. If you have the patience, remove the skins from the herring fillets (highly recommended!).
For the salt brine, combine the water, vinegar and salt in a large, shallow bowl or casserole dish. Stir until the salt has dissolved and place the fillets in the brine.
Preferably use clean tongs or the like when handling the fish, trying not to touch it with your bare hands. Make sure the fillets are entirely covered in brine.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap, place in refrigerator and leave to marinate overnight, for 12 to 24 hours, stirring the fish gently every now and then. When in marinade, the colour of the fish fillets will turn from pink to whitish and more opaque.
On the following day, place the fillets in a large colander to drain.
Meanwhile, prepare the vinegar marinade, again being careful to use clean utensils.
Combine the water, vinegar and sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Peel the onion and the carrot and cut in very thin slices. Coarsely crush the white peppercorns and allspice berries in a mortar.
Either roll the herring fillets up or fold them so that they resemble a whole fish. Layer the fish with the onion and carrot slices and the spices in clean glass jar(s). Pour over the vinegar marinade to cover the fish. Place one bay leaf on top and close the jar with a lid.
Place the jar(s) in refrigerator and let marinate for one to two days. Serve with boiled potatoes and rye bread or as a part of assorted fish platter.
Various homemade marinated and pickled herring preparations are a popular Christmas present in Finland. Use small, decorative pickling jars garnished with a piece of Christmassy fabric, ribbons, etc (see the picture on right).
Recipe source: family recipe/traditional Finnish recipe.