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Life-Affirming Herring at Russ & Daughters

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Life-Affirming Herring at Russ & Daughters

galleygirl | Jun 30, 2003 09:25 PM

I had herring that was totally different from any I had ever eaten at Russ and Daughters yesterday. . Yes, yes, yes, telling you about Russ and Daughters is nothing new...I know they sell the epitome of cured and smoked fishly delights; but, really, this herring was life-changing....

The various pickled herring fillets were nestled snug in their chilly bed, swimming in wine sauce and onions, draped with mustard sauce, but the ones that truly stood out weren't fillets at all, but whole dressed fish, sans heads amd skin, tail still intact. These little babies glistened with a firmness not like the others, gloriously naked....

The counterman deftly removed a fillet from either side, portioned it into eight or so pieces, and handed it to us to try, on a cracker, with a little garnish of sweet, pickled onion... I loved the counterman, I loved the treat, I loved life...I expressed this new-found love vocally; I didn't care that people turned and stared....

Turns out these are North Bay Herring, and they are basically raw; flash-frozen as required by law, then ever so lightly salted.No marinade, no pickling brine.

There was none of the chewy texture (not that that's a bad thing!) we associate with pickled herring; the flesh melted on your tongue like the fattiest sashimi. There was none of the pungent sweetness (not that that's a bad thing!) we associate with pickled herring; there was only the lightest sweetness from the freshest of flesh, hardly salted at all, not the strong flavor I associate with herring..If Jewel Bako, or any of my favorite sushi joints put this in front of me, I'd be thrilled at the experience....And as Mr.Russ,(sorry, forgot his first name) current scion of said fishy family said, it *is* sashimi grade. A loosely used term these days, but totally appropriate here.

As he also said, as a fly-fisherman, he doesn't tell anyone about the spots where they're biting....As a hound, I have to tell you, they're biting at Russ and Daughters...These plump piscine treats are $2.99 a pop...They'll have'm for at least the next month...Get ye down there, and tell me if I'm, wrong...

P.S. I changed my mind, this is what I'm bringing to the Chow-Social. But really, you'll kick yourself if you wait that long...

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