There is a quiet moment in the kitchen as the staff takes a bit of a break before preparing the evening meal.
Let us return to the tea party.
Lady Cora selected the savory recipe below for one of the items on the tea menu.
Give it a try...
During the Edwardian era, Herring Balls were a very popular dish among both classes of Englanders. For the lower caste, they were made with either a picked or creamed herring. For the aristocrats, it was a salted herring. Herring at the abbeys were brought in fresh and the cook would do the salting (preserving) him/herself.
When Herring Balls were requested by either the lord or lady of the abbey, the procedure of preparation began 24 hours before the dish was to be served. The salted herring had to soak overnight in cold water. Due to the fact refrigeration was not used at the abbeys, a member of the kitchen staff had to change the water every hour.
Chances are very strong that today's cook does not salt their own herring. You can buy salted herring at most Jewish markets or kosher delicatessens. You can also prepare this dish using fresh, pickled, or creamed herring, with no other alteration of the recipe. If, per chance, you can't find salted herring, you may use salted cod fillets.
-chapter High Tea at the Abbey, page 34
2 salted herring fillets
1 cup cold mashed potatoes
1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
1 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup butter
If using salted herring, fill a large bowl with cold water, add the salted herring and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove the fish from the water and pat dry. Discard the soaking water.
Remove any bones that might be in the fish and discard. Finely chop the fish.
In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients, except the butter, and mix well.
Pinch off walnut-size pieces of the fish mixture and roll into balls. Set them aside 10 minutes to rest.
In a medium saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the herring glass and brown on all sides.
Remove the herring balls with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain of any excess oil.
Excerpt and recipe from:
80 recipes inspired by Downton Abbey's elegant meals
by Larry Edwards
View more photos of recipes from the book here.
* image source: kitchen scene, herring balls
* i wish there was a Downton Abbey-style restaurant nearby where I could delight in these concoctions