pickled herring recipe

Raw fish is a funny one. In Asia millions eat sushi and sashimi daily, relishing in the purity of the fish and the tang of accompaniments like pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi paste. The Scandinavians gorge on gravadlax, sliced thinly and draped onto blinis with a touch of horseradish, and South American ceviche is a food experience everyone should try.

While Oysters were once a staple of the poor in the UK, fewer of us enjoy their ozone-and-brine beauty because it’s never been cooked. This raw, pickled or cold-smoked fish culture just isn’t all that popular in the UK.

In The Netherlands, however, it is an intrinsic part of their national food identity. I’m talking, of course, of herring. It’s not hard to see why it’s so important once you taste it; tender herring fillets (skin and bones removed for the fussy) are completely lovely, with a punchy vinegar flavour balanced with horseradish, buttered new potatoes, dill and boiled eggs.

pickled herring

It’s also worth noting that herring, if caught in North Sea or North Atlantic, is one of the most sustainable fish available and therefore great for the future of seafood – as well as being good for you.

It isn’t just Holland that loves its fish this way; Scandinavia, too, is big on having it pickled, brined and soused, but seeing as no Scandinavian teams made the World Cup, we‘ll focus on a variation of the Dutch version of pickled herrings – both are very similar to anyone but the most patriotic of a-fish-iondos.

Eat this hot or cold.

Pickled herring recipe

Ingredients

  • 200ml cold water
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 25ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 thinly sliced white onion
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 generous pinches of table salt
  • about 20 white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds500g or 4-5 herring fillets – fresh is best, but (defrosted) frozen ones will do

Method

Add everything except the fish into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the herring to the pan, cover, and simmer on a low heat for 12-14 minutes, then remove from heat.

Allow cooking liquor to cool to a manageable temperature, then either drain and serve the fish warm, or add the fish to a kilner jar and top up with the liquor, onions, herbs and spices – adding a little extra white wine vinegar (2 tablespoons) for piquancy. Eat within 2 days.

Serve with buttered new potatoes sprinkled with fresh dill, quartered hard-boiled eggs and a creamy horseradish sauce.

Netherlands image by Ann Marie Michaels


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  • Oonai2000

    I think you’re just ignorant, Marjolein. Just check the supermarket, you’ll find pickled herring in jars. It’s definitely also a dutch thing.

  • Oonai2000

    Pickled herring is also a dutch thing. I guess you’re just ignorant.

  • Tuuli Reinsoo

    oh yeah, I guess I am. thank you. I m just here in my muddy pond not knowing all things of the world unlike you who probably traveled to every country and ate at every home. sorry for not being your level.

  • Oonai2000

    I guess so. Try to think of that next time you make statements about things you know nothing about.

  • Tuuli Reinsoo

    it wasnt a statement though, dear, I said what it rather reminded me of.

  • Marjolein Heesbeen

    @Oonai2000 Thank you for calling everyone you do not agree with ignorant. Yes you can buy pickled herrings in the supermarket, but I thought this site was about cooking and I (born and bred in The Netherlands – age 55) don’t know anyone in the Netherlands who still makes this dish or has ever made it. Typically Dutch dishes that are still made: kale, potatoes and smoked sausage (boerenkool met worst), poffertjes, jachtschotel, hutspot, red cabbage with apples and many more. I’ll be happy to provide the recipes.

  • Oonai2000

    You said it didn’t sound dutch to you. Ofcourse that was a “statement”:
    1. A declaration or remark
    2. A presentation of opinion or position.
    I guess that’s another thing you’re ignorant about…

  • Oonai2000

    I guess you need to learn how to read as well. Not once did I call people ignorant because I don’t agree with them . I called you two ignorant because you are suggesting (even proclaiming) this isn’t a (typical) Dutch dish, but instead Scandinavian or Estonian. If you read the article, it doesn’t even claim it’s the most typical or exclusively Dutch dish there is, it simply wants to highlight an aspect of Dutch cuisine that’s no langer part of UK cuisine. Or do you really expect a recipe on how to make Dutch soused herring? What does it matter people don’t make pickled herring anymore (I actually have), people also buy the dishes you mentioned straight from the supermarket.

  • NanNJ

    I got to this site because my we brought my born in Holland grandmother pickled herring and black berry brandy every visit. Thanks for the memory.

  • steve

    does it? oops 🙂

  • Peter Goodman

    Children! He describes this as a VARIATION on a dutch recipe! He only said the Netherlands and Scandinavia like herring or pickled herring. Nowhere does he say this is a traditional Dutch dish!
    There is no need to be so rude to each other, when you have misread the article.
    Now say sorry and play nicely.

  • Peter Goodman

    The article does not describe this is a typical Dutch dish!

  • Peter Goodman

    No need to be so rude

  • Peter Goodman

    he didn’t say it’s a typical Dutch recipe!

  • Peter Goodman

    Misreading an article and expressing an opinion based on that is not ignorant, calling strangers ignorant however, is.
    Now shake hands and be friends.

  • Oonai2000

    I am not rude. Marjolein was actually being rude trying to lecture the writer of this article even though she’s wrong.

  • Peter Goodman

    Not that it is any of my concern but a quick review of your posts over a period of time indicates an intellectual capital of vituperative rhetoric and gratuitous insults.
    Why so nihilistic?

  • Oonai2000

    She did not misread the article. She seems to think the Dutch only souse their herring and that pickled herring is something Scandinavian just because she herself doesn’t know anyone who prepares this dish. That’s ignorance, not an opinion. And this recipe is pretty much the same as the pickled herring you can buy in the supermarket. The only reason it’s not “typically” Dutch is because the dish also seems to exist in other countries. The article even points out there’s hardly any difference.
    By the way, if I’m ignorant for calling strangers ignorant, then so are you for calling me ignorant. It also makes you a hypocrite.

  • Oonai2000

    Maybe you also have an issue with reading? There are a handful of posts made over a period of YEARS and most are part of one and the same discussion in which the other party was clearly throwing “vituperative rhetoric and gratuitous insults” at me. But just so you know, your posts show a history of you being a condescending and self-righteous azz. I won’t bother asking why…

  • Peter Goodman

    Have you been carrying that chip on your shoulder for 46 years? That must be why your opinions are lopsided. There is more to life than trolling, see if you can find it.
    ” When you’re the only one who matters you’re the only one who cares”

  • Oonai2000

    I think you’re just ignorant, Marjolein. Just check the supermarket, you’ll find pickled herring in jars. It’s definitely also a dutch thing.

  • Peter Goodman

    Sorry I don’t recognise the word “azz” nevertheless, I stand in awe of your perspicacity however you omitted – arrogant, pedantic and patronising. You must learn that when you denigrate others, you diminish yourself.
    I’m tempted to perseverate with this wind up however your hypersensitivity and lack of self control render it too easy to be entertaining any longer.
    I hope that in time your umbrageousness will fade, allowing you to be a happier person at some point in the future, though at 46 it’s probably too late? Nevertheless, in order to facilitate this process I am prepared to permit you the last word, upon which your fragile self esteem so obviously depends.
    Vaarwel. xxx

  • Oonai2000

    Simple, it wouldn’t post using the normal spelling.

    46? Troll? Arrogant? Hypersensitive? Where do you get this stuff? Are you a mental patient?

  • Peter Goodman

    There you go flattering people again, arf arf!! You accuse all and sundry of ignorance and illiteracy(ad tedium) yet you misread comments completely.
    I’M arrogant pedantic and patronizing(and proud of it).YOU’RE hypersensitive, do you get it now?
    This is getting boring. I’m off to chat with some intellectuals.
    All the best, I’ve enjoyed it. xxx

  • Oonai2000

    Hey now, what about your promise to give me the last word?!

    Yeah, that’s right, old fart, the nurses will be there in a minute to give you one of those blue pills and put you back into your straightjacket.

  • Oonai2000

    I think you’re just ignorant, Marjolein. Just check the supermarket, you’ll find pickled herring in jars. It’s definitely also a dutch thing.

  • Oonai2000

    Pickled herring is also a dutch thing. I guess you’re just ignorant.

  • K Duvalier

    No it doesnt. The recipe says to simmer the fish for 12 to 14 minutes. That mean it is cooked, not raw.

  • K Duvalier

    No, it is not an oops. This recipe cooks the fish. I have copied the statement here “Add the herring to the pan, cover, and simmer on a low heat for 12-14 minutes”