Capt. caught, washed, beheaded and gutted the critters. That left me to do the easy part -“open the fish out flat. Pinch the bone at the tail end and carefully lift out, pulling the bone towards the head. Remove any small bones with tweezers.” This was too easy to believe, right up to the end and the tweezer part. You can’t imagine how many tiny little bones poke through the flesh, and don’t want to release. (Flashback memory to childhood and how I hated to pick through a serving of fish to find the bones.) Tweezers didn’t work so I opted for needle nosed kitchen pliers. Hey, they work on salmon pin bones. After one or two pulls the tips gummed up too much to close on any more bones. A boning knife proved too large to lift just the bones and leave the meat intact. Sigh, back to my thumb and forefinger pinching out each sharp, stubborn, almost invisible little bone. Hundreds of them, lurking everywhere, resisting detection.
Tasting note 1: Omigod! those suckers are sour. At the Capt’s suggestion I poured off a third of the vinegar brine and added water and a bit of sugar. We’ll be brave and schedule a second tasting for tomorrow. Did I mention buying pickled herring at the store in the future?