Pickled herring seems to be an acquired taste, because this beloved Scandinavian dish hasn’t quite gone mainstream in the States. It’s a distant cousin of ceviche and an excellent way to enjoy preserved fish. Sneak some onto your next smorgasbord accompanied by rye toasts, hard-boiled eggs, sliced red onion, freshly chopped dill, and a little Horseradish-Cream Sauce.
What to buy: Salted herring can be found online. If you buy whole salted herring, be sure to remove the skin before pickling.
This recipe was featured as part of our Summer Solstice menu.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 15 mins, plus soaking, cooling, and pickling time
- Active: 15 mins
- 1 pound skinless salted herring fillets
- 1 1/2 cups water, plus more for soaking the herring
- 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 15 whole allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large sprigs fresh dill
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- Place herring in a 4- to 6-quart container and cover with water. Refrigerate overnight, changing the water once.
- Combine 1 1/2 cups water, vinegar, sugar, allspice berries, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and bay leaf in a medium, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature. Stir in lemon juice.
- Drain herring fillets, rinse, and pat dry. Slice crosswise into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Arrange fish in a nonreactive dish or container with a tightfitting lid. Arrange dill, carrots, and onion on top of fish, and pour cooled brine into the dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 4 days. To serve, remove herring from the brine and eat plain, with the pickled carrots and onion, or with rye crackers and toast.