Matjes Herring

(Pronounced like ‘matches’ with a strong ‘ma-’) Matjes means “maiden” in Dutch. When applied to herring, matjes originally referred to young herring that were harvested before spawning season. Before the spawn, herring are especially fat and nutrient dense, which made this catch particularly sought after. The typical preparation for this herring was to pickle them in a brine that contained brown sugar, beets, cloves, and other spices. Now matjes herring is made with herring harvested in all seasons, but the preparation has stuck. In the Netherlands, matjes herring is a typical street food where it is sold from pushcarts—served on a hot dog bun with chopped hard boiled egg and chives.

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