Here’s another entry in “Dispatches from the Block: My Two Rubles” brought to you by the Bulgarian Big Guy, Neromare.
Traditional Swedish recipe only for the really brave Big Guys!
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwIrShTbFLI
“But…hey, wait a second. Why ‘the really brave’? The photo from above looks amazing and super delicious! I will eat that all day long, buddy! Better than a freaking Döner or a Pizza!”
Are you sure, Big Guy? As you already know, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. The photo from above is a photo of a Surströmming that’s in the preparation phase; and it will be carefully rolled into a deliciously and smelly Swedish roll in just a second.
The Baltic herring, known as strömming in Swedish, is smaller than the Atlantic herring, found in the North Sea. During production of surströmming, just enough salt is used to prevent the raw herring from rotting. A fermentation process of at least six months gives the fish a characteristic strong smell and somewhat acidic taste.
Apparently, for some people, the smell is so strong and hard that it’s illegal to bring on planes… No, really, it’s considered a prohibited weapon and highly illegal to bring in the US!
The fish has been banned from several major airlines, classified along with dangerous weapons like shoe bombs and firearms. This national symbol’s ban has made a lot of Swedes really angry indeed.
Surströmming is as Swedish as Volvo and Ikea.
But now major airlines like British Airways and Air France argue the cans are pressurised goods. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, on least two occasions, has had problems with leaking tins of Surströmming and because of that — sanitising an airplane is a costly affair — so they decided to ban it. For that reason, the airport in Stockholm, Arlanda, has stopped selling the traditional dish in its airport shops. It is a myth by the way, they say, that the tinned fish can explode. It won’t. This has caused outrage among creators and lovers of the dish, which some people consider a delicacy.
Brave people eat Surströmming in the house!
This fermented fish has always been part of the Swedish cuisine since before the 15th century. Doesn’t matter if eaten solo, or with yoghurt, bread, potatoes, or whatever other bizarre food the Swedes dig, having Surströmming is always a gangster party.
For example take a look at this cute little French Bulldog trying to eat a Surströmming for first time:
Or these German Army soldiers having a go at the mighty might Surströmming:
But that’s the dark side of it. And people still love that wicked little fishy dish. But how do they eat it? Good question. Here’s the real recipe in case you want to try that out!
Surströmming is usually eaten in a sandwich (called surströmmingsklämma) made with tunnbröd (thin bread), which is normally buttered. The tunnbröd is then topped with:
- Sliced mandelpotatis (a type of potato grown in northern Sweden which is slightly sweet and waxy);
- Fillets of surströmming (sometimes they are cut up into small pieces);
- Finely diced red onion, and a lot of it so it could mask the fish smell, LOL;
- Yogurt, any bitter yogurt will do;
- Surströmming sandwiches are usually served with some Västerbottensost (a type of hard cheese);
- Tomatoes, if you like tomatoes;
- And chopped dill.
In southern Sweden, some crème fraîche or gräddfil (which is a bit like soured cream) is added along with chives, tomato and chopped dill. But some people just use yogurt.
And here is a correct way to prepare it, as shown by this Swedish man:
Another tip is: Locals recommend opening surströmming outdoors or under a stream of water to lessen the ill effects of the built-up pressure inside the can.
And the best thing is you don’t need to be in Sweden to eat surströmming! Brave Big Guys and Girls can buy surströmming online. Some people even stated that they purchased it off eBay!
Swedish beer and Vodka Absolute are commonly served along with it. Sometimes even milk!
Now go grab your fish, go grab your vodka, and get the party started!