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Prep 20 mins
Cook 25 mins
I remember Mother sitting around the kitchen table with her friends, skinning and gutting herring, to make this appetizer salad for New Years and other big community events. I am now able to buy herring fillets, which simplifies the prep quite a bit. Servings is a wild guess - I eat this with abandon, so be advised. Prep time does not include soaking or refrigeration.
- You want to use salt brined herring fillets - I found mine at a Polish deli, sitting all ready to use in a big barrel.
- Place the herrings in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Refrigerate for about 24 hours, changing the water two to four times.
- Drain off the water and slice the fillets into 1/4 to 1/2 inch sized pieces.
- Thinly slice the onions.
- Heat oil in a large skillet; add the onions and cook until tender, but not browned. I often add 1/2 cup or so of water to help soften the onion without letting it brown.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or so, stirring and scraping down the sides of the pan several times. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Take a 1 quart glass or ceramic bowl. Remove bay leaves from the sauce. Layer the herring and sauce in it, starting and ending with the sauce.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to permit the flavors to meld.
- Serve with a good, sturdy rye bread. If you are in the Chicago area, try Racine Bakery's Lithuanian Rye. Some folks like to eat this with hot, boiled potatoes.