Friday, August 10, 2012

A Finnish red herring

...actually that's just a joke, it's really just herring.

This past Saturday I had dinner with a friend and we went to Ravintola Kannas, a more traditional Finnish restaurant.

Despite there being loads of crazy looking stuff on the menu (including kidneys, livers...bunches of things I'd never heard of but will one day no doubt try), I decided to go super traditional and go with what the waitress recommended.

In this case, the herring.

Baked to a crispy golden color in butter and stuffed with onions and dill, it was surrounded by mashed potatoes, pickled beets, and pickles. Doesn't get more traditional than that, I'd say.

Now, it's altogether likely that I've had herring before and just don't remember. I've had many types of fish I've never bothered verifying before consumption, so it's actually very probable that I've had this type of fish before and simply forgotten or just not known.

In either case, this is the first time I'm successfully recording and remembering it intentionally, so let's pretend for the sake of this post, that this is my first time trying it. Anyway, it's the first time I've tried it in the Finnish fashion, so that should at least count for something.

My verdict: tasty (as anything cooked in large amounts of butter always is), but a little scary. Herring, as far as I could tell, is one of those fishes where you eat all of the bones...whole. Though the bones are thin and hair-like, instead of thick and requiring you to pick them out of your mouth as you eat (which is what I was afraid of doing, as I was in slightly polite dinner company), it was a bit terrifying swallowing them as well. They tickled a little as they went down. I'll admit - it was a little less comfortable than I would have wanted.

Other than that, the taste and texture of everything else was wonderful. Pickled veggies were as they should, and mashed potatoes were glorious. Either I'm becoming too much of a European or this portion was abnormally large because I didn't actually finish everything that was on my plate. Perhaps it was the bones...anyway, I was satiated by the end of the meal.

And this dish didn't even cost me that much - 14,50euros at the end. I didn't order any drinks or extras, just drank carafe after carafe of water - wanting to make sure all of those bones washed down properly.

Overall, satisfying, though probably not something I would order again in the near future.

Thanks for the herring, but I'll likely stick to easier fish to fry.

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