As any musical theater fan knows, folks have been trying to sell Americans on herring for a long, long time (Carousel's Mr. Snow brags he'll take his catch and "put 'em in cans an' call 'em sardines." to trick discriminating diners). But now maybe those tiny fish so rich in omega-3 fatty acids are finally about to have their moment. The Times sure thinks so, and they've got some numbers to back them up.
Though we most often hear about herring in the news when the Holland Nieuwe catch comes in or when fancy places like Aquavit have their herring festivals, folks in the appetizing industry say demand has been steadily climbing for years. According to Josh Russ Tupper of Russ & Daughters, "the herring business has been increasing 5 to 10 percent a year" at that storied store.
And don't think herring is just popular at one LES foodie destination, apparently stores like Whole Foods desire for multiple jars of various herrings has led to a boom in the industry. Not to mention the fact that itty fishies are also popular in more and more restaurants across town. For example, at the French bistro Millesimie the chef says "smoked herring and quenelles de brochet are our two most popular appetizers."
Our first herring love was Russ's herrings smothered in cream sauce, but we've since discovered the joys of frying up pickled herring. But that's us. Are you on the herring boat? How do you like yours?