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Herring in Sour Cream

Amount of people
6 Persons
Type of meal
Lunch, Dinner
Preparation time
90 minutes
Seafood included in this recipe
Dutch Herring Fillets
  • 500g herring fillets
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, ground
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds, ground
  • bay leaves
  • sweet white onion, sliced paper thin
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Sliced dark bread, such as pumpernickel or Danish-style rye
  • Fresh dill leaves for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Arrange the herring fillets flesh side-up in a single snug layer in a small baking dish. Season the flesh side with 1 tbsp of the salt. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. In a small nonreactive saucepan over low heat, combine the vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and remaining 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, to steep the aromatics and dissolve the sugar to create a brine, about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a nonreactive container. Add the onion to the brine, cover, and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
  3. If you have a butane kitchen torch, gently run the flame over the skin of the fillets to tenderize. If you don’t have one, the herring will still be good, but just a bit less tender on the skin side. Add the herring to the cold brine, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days.
  4. Pour off the brine from the herring and onion and discard the bay leaves. Separate the onions and the herring, then cover and refrigerate the herring. Transfer the onion to a large nonreactive bowl, add the sour cream, and stir gently to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. The pickled herring and the onion mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  5. Spoon pickled onion onto sliced rye bread and top with herring fillets. Garnish with dill and pepper. Serve immediately.

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