Russian brined herring is cured without any sugar or wine vinegar. The best herring is the one brined whole, with the head on and its innards intact. Cleaning it is actually easier than it looks. Unfiltered sunflower oil is available at Russian supermarkets. It should be dark yellow and slightly cloudy.
1 whole brined Russian herring (see comments);
1/2 white onion, sliced razor-thin;
4 waxy potatoes;
1/3 cup vegetable oil;
1 tbsp minced chives;
1/2 tbsp unfiltered sunflower oil (see comments);
several black peppercorns;
1 large bay leaf;
salt to taste;
freshly ground black pepper;
plain white vinegar;
slices of Borodinsky or pumpernickel bread, for garnish
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Ruffle the onion and place in a small non-reactive dish. Cover with vinegar completely, cover the dish with film, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour if using vinegar with 5% acidity and about 20 minutes if using vinegar with 10% acidity (Russian).
Cover a large non-absorbent cutting board with several layers of wax paper. Lay the herring horizontally and, using a very sharp non-serrated knife, make a slit along the belly from the tail to the head. Gently scrape out the innards. Remove the top layer of wax paper, wrap the innards in it and discard. Filet the herring and discard the backbone and the head. Run your fingertips over the filets to feel for any remaining small bones and remove them. Do not rinse the herring. Slice the filets across, each slice approximately 3/4 inch wide.
Reassemble the filets, skin side up, on an oval platter. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add unpeeled potatoes, peppercorns, and bay leaf, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Drain and peel the potatoes. Quarter and slice into small slices.
Warm vegetable oil in a skillet. Add potatoes and fry, stirring, until most slices have some golden-brown crust. Salt to taste, drain on paper towels, and season generously with black pepper.
While the potatoes are still slightly warm, arrange them around the herring. Drain the onion slices and arrange them on top of the herring.
Sprinkle with chives before serving and garnish with bread slices.
RediscaRecipe category: Appetizers > Fish