Matjes with Green Apple and Celery Salad

This recipe uses a brine of sugar and vinegar to create a delicate dish of cured herring, paired with fresh produce and pumpernickel bread.
Matjes, Green Apple and Celery Salad with Pumpernickel / Photo by Sang An

Courtesy Tim Schulte and David Mueller, co-executive chefs, Bauhaus Restaurant, Vancouver, BC

Matjes are young herring preserved in a piquant brine of vinegar, sugar and spices. This recipe features herring brined for two days. Easy to make and surprisingly delicate, it’s more reminiscent of sashimi than commercially pickled herring. Here, it’s served alongside vivid green accents of apple, celery and tarragon that reflect Vancouver’s treasure trove of produce.

The New Global Face of German Cuisine
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon oil (or additional extra-virgin olive oil)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste
  • 2 slices pumpernickel, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 head frisée, separated into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 green apple, sliced ¹/₈ -inch thick
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally ¹/₈ -inch thick
  • 1 bunch chives
  • Matjes (see below)
  • Tarragon Emulsion (see below)
Directions

Whisk olive and lemon oils with lemon juice. Add salt, pepper and sugar, to taste. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350˚F. Toss pumpernickel cubes with canola oil to coat. Bake for 5 minutes, or until crispy.

Toss frisee with vinaigrette. Divide among four plates. Arrange apples, celery and chives on plates. Top with pumpernickel cubes, matjes and tarragon emulsion.
Serves 4.

Ingredients for Matjes
  • 1¾ pounds raw herring or sardine fillets
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
Directions for Matjes

Remove any bones from fish, using tweezers, if necessary. In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except onion. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove brine from heat, cool and chill in refrigerator.

In ceramic or glass container, stack alternating layers of herring and onion slices. Pour chilled brine over each layer. Allow herring to cure in refrigerator for 2 days before serving.

Tarragon Emulsion
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks, preferably organic
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Directions for Tarragon Emulsion

In bowl, whisk egg yolks with mustard. Add half of olive oil in slow, steady stream while whisking constantly, until emulsified. Add vinegar to loosen mixture. Continue to whisk, and slowly add remaining oil. Whisk in lemon juice and add salt, to taste. Finish with tarragon.

Pair It

Kruger-Rumpf 2015 Pittersberg Grosses Gewächs Riesling (Nahe). Daniel Klintworth, general manager of Bauhaus, suggests this medium-bodied, dry Riesling. With hints of apricots and a bone-dry finish, it can stand up to the bold flavors of cured herring without overpowering its delicate nuances.

Published on January 9, 2018
About the Author
Anna Lee C. Iijima
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from Germany and the Rhône Valley

Anna Lee C. Iijima joined Wine Enthusiast in 2010. A former attorney turned beverage devotee, she holds a Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a student in the Masters of Wine Program. She is also an Advanced Sake Professional of the Sake Education Council with an enduring love for saké and shochu.

Email: aiijima@wineenthusiast.net



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