Fenrir Pickled Mackerel
Fenrir’s Ian Wilson fills the requisite Scandi “pickled fish” food group with mackerel, not the traditional herring. “There’s a ton of mackerel right off the Pacific coast—it’s way more consistent than herring,” he says. The swap yields clean, sweet, and sour bites of vinegar-cooked fish, served stripes and all.
- 3 fresh mackerel, filleted and pin bones removed (ask your fishmonger to do this)
- 7 tbsp kosher salt
- 2½ cups white wine vinegar
- ¾ cup sherry vinegar
- ¾ cup cold water
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 shallot, cut into ⅛-inch rings
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 3 cloves
- ¼ bunch fresh dill, stems attached
BRINE Combine 1 quart cold water and salt to make brine, stirring to dissolve. Place mackerel in a 1-gallon zip-top bag and pour the brine over them, push out any air as you seal bag, and refrigerate. After 24 hours, drain the mackerel of their brine by opening a corner of the bag and pouring it off, leaving the mackerel inside.
PICKLE* Combine vinegars, water, and sugar in a bowl. Add to the bag shallot, peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaf, thyme, and cloves, and pour in the vinegar mix. Allow to marinate in the fridge for 3 days before eating. (Pickled mackerel will keep, refrigerated, for 2–3 weeks in its pickling liquid.)
SERVE Cut mackerel into bite-size pieces and serve alongside crème fraîche, fresh dill, and black pepper.
*No time to home-pickle? Wilson recommends Newman’s Fish Company’s white wine pickled herring, available at City Market (newmansfish.com).
Holdfast Brown Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
Holdfast serves its moist, molasses-sweet pumpernickel-rye loaf during its multicourse meals with a pat of butter studded with flake salt. It’s so good that chefs Will Preisch and Joel Stocks send their guests home with loaves of the Nordic spice–laden treat, gift-wrapped with the recipe. Stocking stuffers, take note: you can give no greater present than this sweet, hearty brown bread.
- 2 cups rye flour*
- 1 cup graham flour*
- 1 cup cornmeal*
- 1 cup pumpernickel meal*
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 2 tsp caraway seed, ground
- ½ tsp dill seed, ground
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1⅓ cups blackstrap molasses
- 4⅓ cups buttermilk
*Find flours and meals at Bob’s Red Mill.
MIX Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and molasses, whisking until fully blended. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir until homogenous.
MAKE A WATER BATH Spray two, 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with cooking oil and pour the bread mixture inside, filling up two-thirds of the way. Wrap individual pans with foil. Place pans inside a larger pan, big enough to fit both. Fill with water halfway up the sides of the loaf pans.
BAKE Bake for 4 hours, or until a cake tester, inserted in the middle, comes out relatively clean. Let cool 25 minutes before inverting on a wire rack to cool completely. The bread is easier to slice when completely cold, but should be served slightly warmed. Wrapped in plastic, the bread lasts 3 weeks in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer.