Whenever I go on holiday I am on the lookout for food items for my list. Surstromming is the only example of something that I specifically did not get because of both my inability to bring it home and the inability of eating it in Sweden (after all, who brings a tin opener on holiday).
I would have brought a tin back with me, but apparently British Airways have a policy of not allowing this particular tin of fish on their flights. I’m guessing that the possibility of the change in pressure releasing the smell from the can is too much for them? In any case, I bought my tin from the good people at ScandiKitchen who, when I collected the tin, wished me the best of luck when trying it. I’m beginning to lose count of how often I’ve been questioned over my food choices in the pursuit of finishing this list….
So there it is. We had a scented candle at the ready and a large bowl to prevent any of the liquid from seeping into our table. If you watch any of the videos online of people trying surstromming it’s usually full of gagging and people throwing up because of the acrid smell and taste.
Now… I might be weird, but the smell wasn’t too bad for me. I mean it was a bit like what I would imagine spicy tuna-flavoured cat food would smell like. It wasn’t the awful smell I was expecting, just a bit weird. So now all we had to do was taste the thing.
I didn’t want to just eat the fish by itself, so I got myself some Danish ryebread to have it on. I’m glad of this because surstromming is beyond my moral understanding of saltiness. It was also had a sweet fish taste with a bitter afterthought. The only thing that stopped me from eating the whole thing, however, was that this still had all the bones in. I know some people are able to eat fish like this, bones and all, but I really hate the mouthfeel.
Thanks to my near religious watching of Iron Chef I was able to gender the fish we ended up eating. The roe from the female fish was nice enough, but the milt from the male fish was especially gorgeous. I later tried this with a bit of tzatziki and it was a true marriage made in weird fusion-cuisine heaven.
If I could get filleted surstromming then I would happily eat this again (which I think makes me weird) with some plain yogurt and some dark bread. Maybe I should just move to Sweden.