Many Alaskan’s know spring has arrived, not by a mark on the calendar but, by the Sitka sac roe herring fishery opening anew. March 25th the Southeast seine fishery kicked off and I’ve been checking out the fleet’s exploits on the Sitka Sac Row Herring Fishery Facebook page, scrolling through loads of great photos and video clips where blue skies and corks make me long for summer.
Easter Sunday is this weekend and in celebration of the Christian holiday and the onset of real Alaskan spring – I present to you Smoked Herring Deviled Eggs! I have loved Deckhand’s Daughter Smoked Herring since trying it a few years ago, bragging about it making the very best nicçoise sandwich, & trust me – these eggs are no less brag worthy. I always have a canned stash on hand, buying it by the case from it’s creator Warner Lew come springtime when he arrives in Dillingham to manage the Bristol Bay Icicle drift fleet.
Bristol Bay’s own herring fishery, the origin of Deckhand’s Daughter herring, takes place after Sitka’s, due largely to our much cooler ocean sea surface temperatures and ice influencing herring stocks migration patterns, Bristol Bay’s real warming and signs of new growth occur often in April and May. The fisheries immanency marked by the return of shore birds, grey whales, and herring amassing to spawn in kelp beds on shores off Togiak and Kulukuk Bays.
I spent several spring seasons working for ADF&G catch sampling herring, pulling scales to gauge age, weighing and sexing samples for stock composition. I loved it, in fact the first time I ever met my husband Bronson was over stinking sampled herring he was picking up as free bait for halibut long-lining – it was meant to be, clearly.
What else is meant to be are these deviled eggs on your Easter table. If you don’t have herring on hand for this Sunday some great substitutes – ounce for ounce – are smoked salmon or smoked clams. Whatever your pleasure add some briny bliss to your holiday table this year!
Deckhand’s Daughter Smoked Herring Deviled Eggs (makes 24 deviled egg halves)
- 12 farm fresh eggs
- 3.5 ounces (1/2 can) Deckhand’s Daughter Smoked Herring
- 4 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, crushed fine
- splash fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
- sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- smoked paprika for sprinkling
Start by hard-boiling eggs. My fail-proof method is to place eggs in a heavy bottomed stock pot and cover them with at least 2 inches of cold water, ensuring each egg has it’s own wiggle room and never stacking them. Add a hefty pinch of salt to the water and bring to a boil. Once the water has hit a rolling boil turn off the heat immediately, cover pot with a tight fitting lid, and allow to remain on the stove for 10 minutes. When 10 minutes is up, remove pot from stove and place in the sink. Turn on the cold water and allow to run until the eggs are submersed in an icy cold water bath. Chill for 5-10 minutes before attempting to peel.
Once cooled, peel and split each egg in half longwise, remove yolks into a medium size bowl and mash with a fork. Add smoked herring, mayonnaise, mustard, crushed garlic, fish sauce, salt and pepper to yolks and either mix well with a fork or for a pipe-able, creamy, deviled egg filling use an immersion blender to whip yolk mixture smooth. Fill halved eggs’ hollowed centers with the yolk mixture and garnish each with a sprinkling of smoked paprika.
Serve eggs right away or chill up to 24 hours prior to serving for best results. For an extra oomph of fish flavor top eggs with more smoked herring, cured herring roe, or Tobiko. For a zingy twist try a bit of sauerkraut on the side, if you’re in Alaska check out Evie’s Brinery for the best seasonal flavors!
What more could you ask for in an Easter basket than naturally pretty eggs, good chocolate, & Wild Alaska Seafood, eh? Just as an additional pop of color and zip of flavor try these deviled eggs with these gorgeous Beet Pickled Eggs from Set the Net last spring!