Upper Normandy Hareng Saur herring is definitely one of the renowned fish foods of the French region's gastronomy. This traditional recipe of smoked herring from Dieppe has contributed to make this part of the Normandy region a heaven for seafood lovers. Both French people and tourists who like to surprise their taste buds would enjoy the distinctive salted taste of the smoked Hareng Saur.
The Hareng Saur recipe has been a traditional popular fish dish since the Middle Ages. Called "fish king" or "prince of fish", the herring indeed used to be a tasty - and economical! - ingredient of the Normandy food and gastronomy. Salted, dried and smoked, or pickled, it could be stored for a long time, transported and cooked in various ways. Smoked herring had the advantage to be available and inexpensive at times when other food was rare - especially in the years of prolonged freezing.
That is why the Hareng Saur herring preparation used to be poors' dish, originated in the town of Dieppe which was one of the top French places producing smoked herring. But this Upper Normandy's speciality is today a common sight on gastronomic restaurants' menus - even in North America where smoked herrings are regularly imported from Dieppe!
Top Tip! Normandy herring recipes can vary. The dish locally called "Gendarme" (French policeman) is the common preparation of smoked and salted herring, whilst the "Hareng Saur" implies that herrings are salted and stocked in barrels for more or less time.
The "Bouffi", or "Craquelot", is hardly salted and smoked. The "Kipper" is split lengthways before being smoked, so that its taste would be even stronger.
You will find smoked herring cooked in different ways in the Northwestern regions France. One of the most common options is to simply bake herring fillets with a creamy sauce, with bay leaves and coriander, to make its taste tangier. You can also find it simply accompanied with steamed potatoes and French vinaigrette.
Whatever the cooking, Hareng Saur has been part of the French gastronomy for many years now and, as it remains a good value, this refined fish is a leitmotiv in Normandy family meals!