Acquired Tastes: Herring is the cheap, healthy fish most Americans are overlooking

Unless you were specifically seeking it out, you’ve probably never noticed the little jars on grocery store shelves stuffed with scaly skin-on fish floating in sour cream, or a wine sauce the color of a murky creek. Or maybe it caught your eye and it made you shudder. For those accustomed to fish only in stick form, herring can be a daunting species. Growing up with a Norwegian mother, I feasted on these little fish for as long as I can remember: pickled herring, mackerel filets packed into little tins with tomato sauce, dried whitefish soaked in lye. Herring, consigned to the ethnic aisle at most American grocers, remains king in many parts of the world.

Herring has held special significance in Scandinavia for centuries. Neolithic-era Scandinavian burial mounds contain herring bones. In the Middle Ages, fisheries in the Baltic and North Seas burst with herring, which remained a …

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