This dish is inspired by a traditional dish from the area of Venice: baccala mantecato (creamed stockfish). For this dish stockfish is cooked in milk until it reaches a creamy consistency. The creamed stockfish is then served on top of polenta.
Instead of making creamed stockfish, I made creamed herring.
Since salted smoked herring has a more pronounced flavor than stockfish, I figured it could hold up to more assertive flavors. I decided to cook the herring in tomato sauce instead of milk and I got a really tasty sauce.
I served it on top of polenta and received the approval of my Venetian friends.
- 1 lb smoked salted herring
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 1 chili pepper
- 2-3 anchovies
- Soak the herring overnight to rinse the salt. The next day, debone the herring.
- In a pot, saute the onion, chili and anchovies in a bit of olive oil. When the onion is soft, add the herring. Cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce and cook until the herring falls apart and the sauce is thick about 1 hour.
- Serve on top of polenta.
Note: it could also be serve on crusty bread or crackers. Just choose a vessel that is rather plain to contrast the saltiness of the herring.