By Patricia Lightfoot
When asked to share a dish typical of my cultural background, I have sometimes felt challenged in a way that someone of Italian or Lebanese origin, for instance, probably would not be. My first thought tends to be not “which delicious dish shall I choose from my birth country’s remarkable and justifiably famous cuisine?” but, rather, is there anything I can think of that someone else might want to eat? The mince (minced beef) and potatoes cooked with no flavouring other than salt that I recall from early childhood is neither what I would eat nor what I would offer others. There are, however, some dishes that I think are worth sharing, and here is a favourite of mine, which we ate during my childhood to remember the time when herring was a staple of the Highland diet and justly celebrated as the “silver darlings” by the local writer Neil Gunn.
Pickled herring salad
1 jar (500 g) of pickled herring fillets
1 large apple
A few drops of lemon juice
Cut up the herring fillets into small pieces, along with some of the onion that they have been pickled with. Dice the apples. Combine the herring, onion and apples with enough cream and lemon juice or sour cream to bind all the ingredients together. Serve on slices of buttered pumpernickel or dark rye bread as an appetizer.
This post recently appeared in the Glebe Report community newspaper.