Haiti’s smoked herring is simply sublime. It is unctuous, not blase; strong, not aggressive; salty but slightly sweet in its tendency to melt into the cookpot without losing all of itself.
We cooked aran fume (kreyol for smoked herring) today. A simple concoction of peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic, tossed with the herring on a high heat.
Our Haitian housekeeper told us it was called Sos Aranso.
To me, nearly 10 weeks in Haiti, it seemed, in some way, redolent of the country – bright, flavourful, downbeat and earthy, but with a decided dignity and presence. It also, maddeningly, filled the house long after it was cooked and eaten. The smell, the sense that it was there.