So at some point in 2007 the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture and an institution called the Estonian Fish Association organized (and the EU supported) a big public campaign to get people to vote on the national fish. And people did. About 50 000 of them. And about 18 000 picked the Baltic Herring as the most worthy contender. So the Baltic Herring is now our national fish.
The Ministry probably didn't have to try so hard, as it's been a staple meal in the Estonian cuisine for ever. And the current statistics say that they catch approximately 140 000 tons of Baltic Herring in the Estonian waters every year. Apparently an amount that still lags behind the demand.
Everyone's mom made fried Baltic Herring. Absolutely everyone's. Some even marinated it after it was fried. Or pickled it in tomato sauce. But the first step is familiar to all.
I've never done that myself. But one day Siim went out and bough 1 kg of Baltic Herring, came home and called his mom. Instead of getting all paranoid, as the "boyfriends mom being dragged into my kitchen matters" tradition suggests, I laid back and gratefully accepted the offerings of nice, fresh herrings, boiled potatoes, my moms tomato-carrot-bell pepper preserve and sour cream. I licked the plate.
The classic fried Baltic Herring:
1 kg of fresh cleaned Baltic Herring (heads and intestines removed)
3 tbsp of flour
Salt the fish and refrigerate for an hour. Then toss them in the flour, after that in whisked egg and fry.
Serve with boiled potatoes and sour-cream.