The kids will be over tonight for our version of Reveillon. Christmas Eve was not a big thing when I was a child. We might have gone to church (9 p.m. service, none of that Midnight Mass stuff) but aside from my father feverishly trying to wrap presents, the evening of December 24 was rather quiet, with the big show coming on Christmas Day.
Lee's family, being Lutheran rather than Presbyterian, put more store in a late church service. The Swedish tradition of lutfisk for supper was also followed. I cooked it several years after we were married but there can't be anything more disgusting than the dried and lyed and soaked cod dish. When we fetched up here where lutfisk is unknown, but where a big Christmas Eve celebration is the norm, it was clear we had to create our own traditions. Chief among them was a switch to potato sausage as the main course for Christmas Eve dinner.
But one tradition we keep is pickled herring as a first course. Here is the recipe from Lee's mother, slightly modified. It's best aged for a week, which means that if you make it today, it'll be perfect for New Year's Eve.
For each large salt herring or for each two small herring:
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped onions
5 peppercorsn, crushed
10 whole allspice, crushed
2 sprigs fresh dill
Soak herring overnight, clean and remove bones, cutting filets.
Make dressing by mixing ingredients listed above, then bringing to boil. Let cool, pour over fillets, add more sliced onions and dill springs. Let maribate in refrigerator for at least three days. A week is better.
Serve with rye crisp and beer.