You can buy jars of ready-pickled herring filets, of course, but why not make your own? Unlike some canned or marinated products, the herring only takes twenty four hours to take on all the flavor it needs to taste beautiful. You will need a pair of jars to make this recipe – a one quart mason jar and a smaller jar that is going to fit inside the mason jar. It is easiest to fit the second jar inside (and get it out again!) if you use a wide-mouthed mason jar.
You will be using coriander seeds, bay leaves, onion and dill weed to flavor the brine, as well as a little whey, which is the whitish water you find on top of yogurt. The finished herrings have so much flavor you do not need to do anything elaborate with them. Simply rolling them up (you can secure them with toothpicks if necessary) around some sprigs of fresh parsley, cilantro or basic is one way of serving them, or you can serve them on crackers or melba toast, perhaps with some chopped capers or pickles, or maybe even a little cream cheese or cottage cheese for a contrast.
These marinated herring filets will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator so you might like to make them in advance of needing them. Most people are really impressed with homemade marinated herring because they taste so much fresher than the ones you can get in the store.
- 1 lb whole fresh filleted herring
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt dissolved in 1 cup cold water
- ¼ cup whey
- 1 chopped onion
- A few sprigs fresh dill weed
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Fresh parsley sprigs, to garnish
- Layer the dry ingredients (except the parsley) in a 1 quart mason jar.
- Pour the whey into the jar and then pour in the brine until the contents are almost covered.
- Fill a smaller jar with water and put it inside the 1 quart jar to press the ingredients inside under the water level.
- Drape a cloth or towel over the top. Keep the jar somewhere dark for 24 hours.
- Remove the smaller jar, put a lid on the big jar, and refrigerate the marinated herring for up to 2 weeks.
- When you are ready to serve it, wrap the marinated filets around parsley sprigs and serve chilled.
A simple sprig of fresh herbs is an easy way to add a splash of color to this tasty marinated herring recipe. Once the herrings are marinated, you can roll them around your choice of herbs and serve them. You will be able to taste traces of the coriander, bay leaves, onion and the other ingredients used to make the marinade, although the overwhelming flavors are a sourness from the vinegar and of course the fishy herring flavor itself. Pickled herrings make a beautiful appetizer or an accompaniment to salad and they keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator without becoming too strong or changing in texture.
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