Below is a recipe for a typical Polish dish for Ash Wednesday in Polish called also Popielec (from "popiół" = "ash").
Herring with Potatoes (not peeled)
In Poland people usually prepare herring ahead of time. They just buy a fresh herring and they marinate them with onion and vinegar or vegetable oil, see below:
Herring in Polish way
- buy fresh herring or a herring in a jar (lunch herring, wine herring etc)
- clean it with the water so that it will lose any of the flavors it has
- lice fresh onion
- arrange herring in a clean jar or on a deep plate in the following way - a layer of herring covered with a layer of sliced onion rings or pieces, make at least 4-5 layers
- pour a vegetable oil on it and let it stand in the cool place for some time so that the oil and onion will soak through the layers of fish
You can buy pre-prepared herring in a grocery store.
For Ash Wednesday I would not recommend herring with cream or with vine, just lunch herring, since this is a day one should eat a simple food without any special additions, especially not a cream.
As the addition to herring (either herring in Polish way or prepared) use unpeeled potatoes according to the recipe below:
Clean potatoes under running water but do not peel. Use red potatoes or a small and medium size. Cook potatoes with skin in boiled salted water. Not peeled potatoes are called in Polish in direct translation: potatoes in uniforms or armed potatoes (in Polish: "kartofle w mundurkach"). After cooking (you can check with a fork whether potatoes are soft) peel potatoes and add herring (lunch herring in vinegar and onion). When I was a child my mother was adding also a teaspoon of butter into my plate for taste.
This dish is very simple but really delicious! You can try it many times during lent season. I really love this food. Poles in general like herring very much and they have many ways to prepare it. Herring is available in large quantities in Baltic Sea. Poles eat herring as one of main dishes also for Christmas and for Easter, they do herring salads.
Smacznego (Good Appetite!)
If you are interested in Polish cuisine I recommend you a book written by Marja Ochorowicz-Monatowa, entitled Polish Cookery
I have this book and it is very useful. It is written in English but it has Polish and English names of all the dishes. The dishes are modified to American and international market.
Try also a book written by Alina Zeranska, Janina Domanska (Illustrator), entitled The Art of Polish Cooking