Forshmak: Jewish Herring

An authentic Old World appetizer.

Forshmak is probably the most authentically Jewish herring recipe. The word itself is Yiddish for “pre-taste”–that is, an appetizer, meant to set your taste buds going. There are many varieties of forshmak–probably as many as there were shtetls in Eastern Europe. This one originates in Haschevato, Ukraine, the small village where my father’s side of the family comes from.

For other herring variations, try these recipes for the classic herring and onions and herring in an overcoat (herring pie).

Ingredients

1 teaspoon sugar

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

2-3 hard-boiled eggs, yolks separated from whites

1 sour apple, peeled and cored

2-3 pieces white bread, soaked in water or milk (squeeze out the liquid before using)

2 nicely sized herrings, fillets separated

a few scallions, chopped

Directions

In a food processor, blend the fish fillets, apple, egg-whites, and bread. Add the oil and vinegar, mix thoroughly, and place the mixture in a dish.

Crumble the egg yolk and scallions on top. Refrigerate before serving.

Forshmak is particularly good served on black Russian bread, but you can put it on healthy spelt crackers, too.

Discover More

Guide to Jewish Food Terms

Commonly used words and phrases for "noshers" and "fressers."

Strawberry Rhubarb Blintzes

An unconventional treat for Shavuot or whenever strawberries and rhubarb are in season.

American Jewish Humor 101

What's so funny -- and so Jewish?

Sephardic Cuisine

An overview of the wide variety of food eaten by the descendants of the Spanish exile.

Ashkenazi Cuisine

European Jewish food developed along with the migration of the European Jewish community -- from West to East.

Shabbat Chicken with Dried Fruit Recipe

This go-to chicken recipe, with a glossy and delicious sauce, is perfect for Rosh Hashanah or Shabbat.

Classic Potato Kugel

A grandmother's recipe offers an easy route to this classic Ashkenazi dish.

VIDEO: How to Make Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed cabbage is one of the most quintessential Ashkenazi Jewish dishes.