Basics and sides

Salt herring

We are posting salt herring as a quick, simple preparation that is needed for another dish. History? Long. Fish has been salted for preservation for centuries. The Scandinavians are the modern-day masters of the salt herring, but it was the Dutch who invented a method of curing herring at sea with their secret recipe dating from 1736.

YouTube is awash with handy-looking Americans salting fish in oil-drum quantities. We needed a simple cure for a couple of herring. We simply threw a handful of Maldon sea salt in a vac bag with a gutted fish, sucked the air out and let time do its work. The result is a firm flesh, that still benefits from secondary cooking. The firmness of the fish means that I imagine it would be pretty much amazing in a salad. We made salt herring so we could do the traditional Scottish dish tatties an’ herrin’.

See recipe notes on how to handle this without a vacuum packer.

Salt herring

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Serves: 2 fish, 4 fillets
Cooking Time: 1 week


  • 2 whole herring, gutted
  • 6 tbsp Maldon sea salt



Seal the herring in a bag with the salt. If you have a vac-packer, then use that to get the air out too.


Refrigerate the fish for a week, turning over every day or so.


Open the bag, pour off any fluid and wash the fish briefly under a cold tap.


Bone the fish with a filleting knife – it will be much firmer than filleting a fresh fish. Remove the belly flap and associated bones, but leave the skin on (you will never get it off).


You can achieve vac pack without a vacuum packer. Place the cure and the target food in a ziplock bag, and lower it into a sink of water until the air is pushed out, but the opening is still clear of the water. Seal.

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  • Reply
    22/02/2021 at 7:55 am

    My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.

    • Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      28/02/2021 at 9:40 pm

      Very good. This is a peculiar recipe and very old. I am surprised to get a comment on this, but bravo.

  • Reply
    Eva Smagacz
    06/12/2021 at 3:43 pm

    Very helpful. Cannot get herring in salt or herring in oil, but our fishmonger has fresh herring. I can do my own now. Perfect

    • Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      06/12/2021 at 4:37 pm

      No problem. It took a bit of time on YouTube to work out how to do this in any quantity less than “1 barrel.”

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