Pickled herrings

Matthew Fort demonstrates how to preserve fish the Scandinavian way
By Matthew Fort
Pickled herrings
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus overnight salting
  • Effort: easy


  • 500 g salt
  • 1 kg herring fillets
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 150 ml white wine vinegar
  • 3 tsp pickling spices
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves


1. Salt the herrings overnight, or for at least eight hours, to draw out any liquid and tauten the texture. Judging the time is quite tricky, but it is better to undersalt them. Wash off the salt very thoroughly.

2. When the herring is ready, put all the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive pan, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then set aside to cool.

3. Remove the herrings from the salt, then place in a shallow container and pour the marinade over.

4. Refrigerate for at least five days before eating. They will keep for up to a month. Serve with boiled potatoes, sliced raw onions or with a creamy sauce in salads.

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