Recipe #2: Rollmops

November 8, 2011

As the weather gets chilly (hello, freak October snowstorm!), it’s the perfect time hole up at home and put your culinary skills to use. And since today is “Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day,” we suggest branching out from your usual routine to embrace some new, and yes, pungent, odors.


So in celebration of this unusual holiday, we’ve eschewed the more traditional smelly ingredients, such as garlic, cheese, and sauerkraut, for something that’s often overlooked. Rollsmop are a Polish appetizer consisting of herring fillets rolled into a cylindrical shape around a small sour pickle, and then cured in brine. Once considered an everyday staple. These pickled delicacies are a staple for Wigilia (traditional Christmas Eve supper) – but taste great anytime of year with a cold shot of vodka – trust us.


4 whole salted herrings*
* (Try your local Eastern Euro or Scandinavian grocer)
8 gherkins
1 onion, sliced
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoon mustard
2 grains all spice
2 grains peppercorn
1 teaspoon sugar
bay leaf


1. Prepare the salted herring by soaking in a large pan of cold water for about 24 hours, changing water two to three times. Remove the head, fins, and make sure there are no scales on the fish. Slit the belly to remove the intestines and wash the cavities. (This is where the BOLD comes in)


2. At this point, you should have 8 fillets. Spread each fillet with mustard. Place one gherkin and a few slices of onion at the large end of the fillet and roll up, securing with a toothpick. Put the finished rolls in a clean jar.


3. Meanwhile, make the marinade by bringing the vinegar, water, bay leaf, all spice, peppercorn, sugar, and any remaining onion to a full boil. Cool to room temperature and pour the marinade over herring. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-5 days before eating.