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Sep 5, 2006 09:11 PM

Solomon Gundy

Does anyone have a recipe for Solomon Gundy? I can't find a good one, and even trusty Google let me down this time. I'd like to try my hand at making it.

I'm looking for the very spicy, peppery Jamaican spread made with smoked herrings and scotch bonnets, NOT the soused/pickled East Coast-style herrings layered with onions, nor the ground-beef based stew. I've noticed the latter are both referred to as "Solomon Grundy" (note the "r" in "Grundy").

The only recipe I found online was through Google's cache and calls for burning newspaper (!) wrapped around the fish:

Thanks so much!

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  1. Only thing I could find (using "salamagundi" and "salmagundi") was an old English recipe for a composed salad of chicken, lettuce, grapes and lots of other stuff. There was even a recipe from Jane Austen.

    1. Your question had me intrigued. I had not seen that spelling before and went to Google myself and typed in a spelling I am more familiar with. Try Salmagundi Recipes or Salamagundi Recipes. The first yielded many more recipes and many variations on the theme and suggestions that it is an old english dish, a favorite dish of pirates and others. One page suggested that your spelling is a corruption of the name which probably is why it was hard to find much. I did look in my copy of Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz's The Complete Book of Caribbean Cooking and found a Herring Gundy recipe from the US Virgin islands. It does use salt herring and incorporates finely chopped hot red or green peppers. She also says the name is a corruption. If you cannot find what you are looking for with the different spelling i can paraphrase it for you.

      1. On a great vacation to Nova Scotia a few years ago, I learned that pickled herring is called Solomon Gundy, although I can't remember why! I seem to remember that the name is a bastardization of an explorer's name? I do remember that whatever the provenance of its name, pickled herring makes a great companion to a dry martini. You might troll around some Nova Scotian cookbooks to get you started. In the meantime. I found this online:

        Solomon Gundy
        from "Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens"
        1/2 dozen salt herring
        2 medium onions
        2 cups vinegar
        2 tablespoons pickling spice
        1/2 cup sugar

        Remove tails and heads from herring. Clean inside and remove the skin. Cut in pieces about 1 inch thick and fillet the pieces. Soak in cold water about 24 hours. Squeeze the water from the herring. Place in bottle with slices of onion, in alternate layers. In a saucepan, heat the vinegar and add pickling spice and sugar. Let cool; then pour over the herring in the bottles.

        Served usually as an appetizer, with either the pickled onions or fresh onions, along with sour cream for dipping.

        1. Thanks everyone. Chowhounds rule!

          Candy, your mention of "Herring Gundy" prompted me to Google that, and I got many hits for recipes that look just like what I'm after.

          This looks like... The One <lol>

          The "traditional" Jamaican Solomon-a-Gundy included salted mackerel and shad boiled together, but in my opinion that’s just too much fish in one dish. I’ll just stick with the red ‘errin’ and make a simple recipe then you can take it to the nth degree. It’s your choice.

          1 lb. Smoked Herring

          1⁄2 doz. Allspice balls (pimentos)

          1⁄2 cup Vinegar

          1 Large Onion (chopped)

          1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper or Habernero Pepper

          1 Stalk Scallion

          1⁄2 tsp. Thyme

          4 tbsp. Oil

          1 tsp. Sugar

          Bring water to boil and then add the smoked herring to the water. This process will remove some of the salt from the fish. Allow the fish to boil for about 15 minutes.

          Discard the water.

          Warm the vinegar with the pimento balls and sugar on a low fire and stir occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Do not boil the vinegar.

          In the meantime, remove the bones from the smoked herring. You may not get to remove all the bones but do as many as you can.

          Now add the chopped onion, oil, peppers, scllion, and thyme to the electric blender. Puree for 1 minute.

          Make sure that the sugar is dissolved into the warm vinegar and then remove the pimento seeds.

          Add the fish and vinegar solution to the rest of the ingredients already in the blender. Puree for another minute and your Solomon-a-Gundy should be ready by now.

          It is your choice to make this “dry” or smooth by increasing or decreasing the puree time in the blender.

          You can serve this with crackers, bread, or potato chips. A dip can also be made from this by adding mayonnaise or cream cheese...the sky’s the limit on this one.

          Yah Mon!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Olivia

            olivia, do you have the traditional Jamaican way of making this? My mother used to use the shad also.

            1. re: cafeaulait

              Not sure what you mean... I thought the recipe I posted was the trad. way. If you have a more authentic one, it would be great if you posted it.

          2. Try this link for bottled Solomon Gundy (not to be confused with N.S. Solomon Grundy)