RECIPE: Woodinville’s Barking Frog Presents, “Holding On To Spring”

“Holding on to spring,” grilled and chilled herring, pickled ramps and green strawberries, fennel, watercress, preserved lemon, macadamia-ramp pesto, olive oil aioli, and chive, from Barking Frog at Willows Lodge in Woodinville for Alaska Herring Week 2017. Photo courtesy Barking Frog.

Alaska Herring Week 2017 begins on Monday, June 19th! Here is another one of the delicious, creative dishes chefs from all over Greater Seattle will be making using wild, sustainably-harvested Pacific herring from Alaska! This is “holding on to spring,” from Barking Frog at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, featuring grilled and chilled herring, pickled ramps and green strawberries, fennel, watercress, preserved lemon, macadamia-ramp pesto, olive oil aioli, and chive.

Wanna make this at home? You can purchase the same Alaska Herring fillets being used by Seattle’s top chefs for Alaska Herring Week from Central Coop on Capitol Hill, Freshy’s Seafood Market on Mercer Island, Old Ballard Liquor Co. in Ballard, and Wild Salmon Seafood Market at Fisherman’s Terminal! Once you’ve done that, here’s the recipe:

“Holding on to spring,” grilled and chilled herring, pickled ramps and green strawberries, fennel, watercress, preserved lemon, macadamia-ramp pesto, olive oil aioli, and chive

Bone Softening Brine:

For 1-2 pounds of herring fillets

  • 1 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  1. Brine fillets for 2-3 hours, then pour off brine.
  2. Soak the brined fillets in ice water for 30 minutes,
  3. Change the water and soak for another 30.
  4. Remove from water and let dry between linens.

For The Herring and Marinade:

Grill the herring on a well-seasoned grill until just cooked through.

Remove from grill and cool.

  • 1 Cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, zested + juice from 1
  • 1 bulb fennel, shaved thin
  • ½ tsp fennel seed, toasted and ground
  • ½ bunch parsley coarsely chopped
  1. Combine everything
  2. Season lightly with salt
  3. Pour over herring and let marinate overnight.

For the pickled Strawberries and Ramps:

We use green strawberries which are unripe and haven’t begun to show color yet. We use a cold pickle on these

The Ramps we use a cold pickle on the greens and a hot pickle on the bulbs. If you don’t have ramps you can use onions and do a hot pickle on them.

For the pickling brine:

  • 2 Cups Champagne vinegar
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • ½ Jalapeno, seeded
  • 6 ea Juniper berries
  • 2 ea bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Pink peppercorns
  1. Bring everything to a boil, strain over vegetables for a hot pickle, and let sit for 2-3 hours.
  2. Strain through a chinois filled with ice to cool off the pickling brine and dilute for a cold brine, then pour over desired product (Strawberries here) and let sit overnight

For the Macadamia- Ramp Pesto:

  • 12-15 Ramps, cleaned
  • 1/2c Macadamia Nuts, toasted, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp Grapeseed oil
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  1. Toss the ramps in oil and roast over a grill or cook them in a hot cast iron pan to char them
  2. Finely mince the cooked ramps and roasted garlic.
  3. Combine with the macadamia nuts and blend together, add the vinegar and grapeseed oil.
  4. Season to taste.

For the Olive Oil Aioli:

  • 1ea egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • 6oz Olive oil
  1. Combine everything except olive oil and blend thoroughly
  2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whipping constantly
  3. Season to taste.

For The Dish (1 serving):

  • 2 tbsp Shaved fennel
  • 8-10 leaves watercress, cleaned
  • 2 pickled ramps
  • Fennel frond to garnish
  • 2 Tbsp Ramp-macadamia Pesto
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil Aioli
  • 2 Herring Fillets
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp of marinade from herring
  • 1 Tbsp Pickled green strawberry
  1. Combine fennel, watercress and fennel frond in a bowl, mix with herring marinade.
  2. Lay Herring fillets on plate.
  3. Top herring with pickled ramps, and salad of fennel and watercress
  4. Place dots of Aioli around herring
  5. Garnish with a spoonful of Pesto
  6. Finish the plate with pickled strawberries and lemon zest,
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