The 'prince of fish', or even 'king of fish' if you will, is an essential part of the Northern European diet.
In the Middle Ages, its absence from the fishmonger's stall was a sign of hard times, and it was long used as a form of currency or given as a gift.
In Boulogne-sur-Mer, the techniques used to transform the herring (based on salting, smoking and drying the fish) are ancient and the combinations produced offer an impressive range of products:
- Salted herring is stored in special barrels.
- Pickled herring is salted, soaked and smoked.
- "Gendarme" herring is stiff and salted for at least 9 days.
- Bouffi or craquelot herring is a whole, lightly smoked herring.
- Kipper is split down the middle, salted and lightly smoked.
- Rollmops are marinated in vinegar and served on a cocktail stick, rolled around onion rings.
- Buckling herring is salted for a few hours, then hot-smoked.
-Small herrings are served as pilchards in tomato sauce.
Thanks to these many different types of preparation, chefs can concoct dishes like sweet herring fillets on potatoes, split pea cream with sweet-smoked herring, and even herring pancakes.
The important regional status of this fish is illustrated in February, at the carnival, when it is traditional for kippers to be thrown to the crowd from the town hall.
Herring can be conserved in numerous ways. It can be brined in a barrel, salted over several days and then lightly smoked, left to marinate in vinegar, etc.© Birgit Reitz-hofmann - age fotostock
Herring is a classic choice that can be cooked in the oven, prepared as a salad or fried.© ZoonarJoerg Beuge - age fotostock
Herring is fished in the cold seas of the north, and especially in the Channel. It can be found at markets at the beginning of winter.© Purestock / Age Fotostock
In the North of France, herring is called the 'Poisson Roi' (King Fish) or sometimes the "Prince des Poissons" (Prince of Fish).© ZoonarH Leitner - age fotostock
According to tradition, during the Dunkirk carnival kippers are thrown from the balcony of the town hall into the crowd below.© ZoonarSimoneVoigt - age fotostock