This recipe was developed by Marcus Jernmark, chef at Aquavit in New York City, as part of the restaurant's traditional julbord spread for Christmas. "Herring salad with beets is very holiday-oriented," Jernmark says. In Sweden, "it's a fixture on the Christmas table — and the Christmas table only." Jernmark hypothesizes that the dish originally came to be as a way to use up scraps from the other herring preparations and pickled beet salads that dominate the table this time of year. "Regular beet salad is diced a little large, and most herring salads use larger pieces. This is fluffy, creamy — pulsed, almost like it's been in a food processor. It's perfect for scraps." It's now such a fixture of the Swedish Christmas spread that it's made from scratch, as in this recipe, which uses unsweetened whipped cream for body.
8 ounces beets ½ cup kosher salt 3 cups water 1 cup sugar ¾ cup white wine vinegar 1 tbsp allspice berries 5 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick ½ tbsp whole white peppercorns 1 tbsp whole cloves 1 red onion, diced 1 Granny Smith apple, diced 4 ounces potatoes 4 ounces pickled herring, shredded 1/3 cup ounces sour cream 1/4 cup chopped chives 1/4 cup chopped dill Salt and pepper to taste 1/3 cup unsweetened whipped cream
Preheat over to 375 degrees. Scrub the beets clean and place them on a bed of kosher salt in a baking dish. Seal the dish with a piece of aluminum foil. Roast the beets until they are tender, about 1 hour. In the meantime, boil potatoes until tender. Let the beets cool and then dice; strain potatoes, let cool and then dice. Mix water, vinegar, sugar, allspice berries, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, white peppercorns and whole cloves in a large bowl. Submerge beets, onion and apple in the solution for 2 hours, then strain. Add the potatoes, herring, sour cream and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Before serving, fold in the whipped cream. Garnish with herbs.