First new herring brought ashore

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The first new herring – known locally as Hollandse Nieuwe - arrived in the port of Scheveningen on Sunday afternoon. The first catch of the season will be auctioned off for charity on Tuesday. The auction marks the official opening of the new herring season.

Last week, experts said expectations for the new season were high. After a good spring with loads of sunshire there is plenty of plankton in the water, and high concentrations of plankton means loads of food and fat herrings. Hollandse Nieuwe is typically eaten raw with chopped onion. The first catch of the season is traditionally celebrated in festivals such as the Vlaardingen Herring Festival and Vlaggetjesdag Flag Day in Scheveningen.

In the Middle Ages, Dutch fishermen developed a process of preparing herring known as gibbing. The gills and part of the gullet are removed through a cut in the throat, but the liver and pancreas are left in the fish during the salt-curing process because they release enzymes essential for flavor. The herrings are then placed in the brine for approximately 5 days, after which they require no further preparation besides filleting and skin removal.

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