Herring and Sea Fennel Pesto Toast with Smoked Herring Cream
Toasted brioche bread
Japanese rice vinegar
200 g yoghurt
First, clean the smoked herring (remove the innards) and vacuum cook in olive oil, which will remove its aromas. In essence, it infuses the oil with the flavours of the herring (this recipe only uses herring oil). There is no need for a vacuum cooking machine, a Sous Vide is as good (it’s ideal for using at home). Leave to cook for two hours at 65ºC.
Smoked herring dashi
Dashi is a stock made with kombu (a type of seaweed) and tuna chips. Dashi is also combined with smoked herring. It gives rise to flavours of seaweed, dried tuna and smoked herring… genuine umami! (umami is the Japanese word for something tasty). It needs to cook for two hours. Once done, strain the grains with a cloth.
Make toast with brioche bread. Cut into large pieces and put in the oven for 15 minutes (at 160ºC). First, brush with olive oil and egg yolks to give them colour. It’s a good idea to include a little Sherry Wine in the pesto so that the flavour of the Manzanilla is incorporated into the dish to give a rounded experience.
First, bring the Sherry Wine to the boil till the alcohol evaporates. Add a dash of sambai vinegar (Japanese rice vinegar) and agar. The agar thickens the liquid relatively quickly. Remove to a plate and put in the fridge to cool down to a gelatinous consistency. Once cold, use a blender to make a smooth, uniform paste.
Rock samphire pesto
The freshly picked rock samphire goes perfectly with almonds, Terschelling goat’s cheese and olive oil; mix everything well and voila! the pesto is ready. Although it’s very simple, if it’s too much work, prepare the pesto and put it on a piece of toast with herring and you’re done.
Now, cut the herring to fit the toast (just like origami) and the smoked herring oil will be ready. Strain the oil to remove any residue and leave aside. Next, prepare the cream. It’s very simple: put 100 grams of egg white and 200 grams of yoghurt in a blender with a pinch of salt and a little rice vinegar. Put the blender on a medium speed and add a little herring oil to the cream. The result is a light, smooth cream with an intense flavour of the sea.
The result of pairing with Manzanilla
Spread some pesto on the toast and place the herring on top. Pour a few drops of the sambai gel with the Sherry on the herring, add a few drops of the smoked herring cream and herring caviar in the middle. As a garnish, put some sea lavender leaves and yarrow in the drops. Put the dashi in a small bowl next to the plate.
Herring is a perfect match for the saltiness of Manzanilla. The bread dough and almond aromas of the wine combine perfectly with the rock samphire pesto and toast. Although the Sherry Wine tends to be dry on the palate, the dish is high in fat, which counteracts the sensation. The stock finishes the dish with a touch of salt and umami flavour.