With the summer solstice coming tomorrow already, ft pulled a group of us together to celebrate Swedish Midsummer. I decided there was one perfect thing to bring: herring “cake”. I’ve told ft about this before, and while it is a delicious recipe from my wonderful Swedish relatives in Stockholm, he was skeptical of this idea… time to convince him otherwise!
I made this herring “cake” once before, for ib‘s birthday brunch, in celebration of all things ib loves: bread, cheese, onion, sour cream, hard-boiled eggs, black pepper, lettuce, dill, and most importantly herring. (oh, and there’s some mayo and chives in the mix as well) When I first tried this recipe, the biggest hurdle was figuring out to use for the 3 large bread rounds my Swedish aunt called höhökaka. When I had this in Sweden, the breads were soft and large, and unfortunately the closest thing I could find in the end were simple pitas. After all the effort looking for breads, it turned out the larger pitas worked quite well and two stacks (3 pitas for each) would make one original recipe for the large breads. For smaller groups, one pita-sized “cake” is plenty anyway. Unfortunately the final “cake” is bit hard to cut, so I recommend a sharp serrated knife for the job.
The first layer is a mixture of cheese and chopped raw onion, topped with sour cream. I used a mixture of mostly sharp cheddar and a little parmesan (maybe 1/4 C parmesan and just over 3/4 C cheddar in the end), one small onion (the direct conversion would be a bit over 1/3 C) and ~2/3 C sour cream. I try to pack the cheese and onion together well so that the layer is dense and easier to cut, meanwhile getting it as close to the edge as possible (the trickier part…).
Finally the top layer is a bed of lettuce topped with concentric rings of three kinds of herring, originally plain pickled, mustard sauce, and tomato sauce. Since I have a hard time finding these here, this time I just made my own mustard and tomato versions from a jar of creamed herring. The integrity of the cream herring wasn’t as nice, but maybe it was just the jar I got. It turned out to be surprisingly effective to just add mustard or tomato paste to the herring. While it isn’t as great for eating on its own, the flavors and colors were sufficient for the final effect. I used most of a jar of pickled herring for the perimeter, and maybe 1/3 jar for mustard and only a few pieces for tomato since there isn’t much room in the middle of this small version.
ft also brought the ingredients for us to assemble these wonderful potato-bites: half a new potato, sour cream, chives, hard-boiled egg, and matjes herring (notice similarities in these Swedish traditions?!). They were wonderful, especially with samples of aquavit.