They say that in India, there’s a festival celebrated somewhere in the country every day of the year. Supposedly, its a testimony to the richness of the Indian culture. Some Indians, though, say its a testimony to the unwillingness of the Indians to work and their inventiveness in coming up with excuses to avoid working. As I am not concerned with India, but with Europe, I will leave this matter to the Indians. All I can tell you is that if you scan the calendars of the European countries you’ll surely find a festival every day somewhere on the old continent.
With over 50 countries and countless regions dotting Europe, the variety of festivals and celebrations is hardly a surprise. Some of these festivals, such as the Carnival in Venice or the running of the bulls in Pamplona, are well-known and are a regular feature on bucket lists. Others are more local, and maintain the local charm, swarmed by locals rather than the bucket-list waiving crowds. Like the Vlaggetjesdag, or Flags Day, in Scheveningen.
Originally, Vlaggetjesdag was the day when the herring fishing fleet would sail out to sea, on the Saturday before Pentecost. Nowadays, it is the start of the herring eating rather than herring fishing season that is being celebrated, and the festival has shifted to early June (8th of June this year). While not as famous as, for example, La Tomatina, Vlaggetjesdag events in Scheveningen, the Hague’s harbour, attract huge crowds. The first barrel of herring is auctioned, and the proceedings, running in tens of thousands of Euro, are donated to charity.
The question is – what do you do with herring? The Dutch usually treat it as a snack, eating it with or without onions, plain or in a white bread bun, and with a pickle in Amsterdam. But what if you want to make a meal out of it? As it requires extra no cooking, there’s no point in doing anything with the herring, but what does raw herring go with? Well, since new herring is available in the summer, how about a fresh quinoa salad?
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
- 8 herrings
- 300 g quinoa
- 2 raw beetroots (300 g)
- 150 g feta cheese
- Fresh mint and parsley
- Lemon julie
- Olive oil
Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Skin and rasp the beetroots. Crumble the feta cheese. Chop the mint and parsley leaves. Mix everything together and spice with lemon juice, olive oil and some black pepper and serve with 2 herrings per person. Enjoy your very summery salad (with or without the herring).