HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


How Do *You* Serve Smoked Herring?

I bought a package of smoked herring - USA wild caught - a two days ago and now I'd like to know how to serve them. Are there any special preparations? Should they be boned and the skin removed first? These are shrink-wrapped. Others I've had were tinned and simply served on crackers.

TIA for your suggestions.....

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. they make a nice addition to a cold appetizer tray, served straight up, with people taking portion of the fish and removing skin on their own plate. Not really finger food. I've only had them a few times, but served with cheeses, bread, etc. Need some lemon wedges for the fish, definitely.

    1. Serve with rye crisp rounds (flat breads?), broken down to regular cracker size, with butter and/or sour cream on the side. Or. put together as canapés and garnish with fresh chopped dill. The dill can also be mixed into the sour cream. Those are the 3 main ways my father and grandfather always ate their pickled herring. I imagine they'd do the same with smoked herring. I just had a bunch of smoked wild koho salmon over the holidays. It was divine. :-)

      3 Replies
      1. re: KailuaGirl

        Thank you both for your suggestions. They are much appreciated.

        I was wondering.... is the herring rinsed of salt before serving??

        1. re: Gio

          Smoked herring can be served as is...the stuff I've had is usually de-boned, as well, so makes serving even less complicated. If you see some salt crust on it, probably worth rinsing, kind of like if it was cured. But that would be a different product.

          The pickled herring KailuaGirl is talking about is different. It's in a brine.

          1. re: grandgourmand

            Thank you grandgourmand!

            I'll be serving the herring tonight as an accompaniment to a sautéed combination of tomatoes, onions, eggs. Hope it works.....

      2. been eating smoked herring for years (great gramp smoked his own in Nova Scotia) but I still pick up a package everyone once in a while. We've always enjoyed it just as it comes, on crackers or little rye bread. sour cream would be nice too. It's such a unique flavor, by itself is best but thinking on a toothpick with the right piece of cheese might be nice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lexpatti

          Thanks lexpatti! So I'll keep the herring as pristine as possible.... can't wait.

        2. Back again.... after dinner.
          Made the eggs in tomato sauce otherwise known as Eggs in Purgatory. They were very well recived. Made refried beans with pinto beans which were made last night. They were very well recived. The herring was very salty even after rinsing and deboning and rinsing again and lemon wedges having been squeezed over. But the dinner was not a total loss....Champagne cures anything.

          1. I make a reaaalllly good sandwich with kippered herring. Looks kind of like tuna salad:

            - 1 can herring, chopped up
            - 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs (depending on how you like the fishy taste)
            - 2 or 3 baby dill pickles (with garlic, my preference)
            - about a tbsp finely chopped red onion, or scallions, or any mild, sweet onion
            - about 2 tbsp fat free plain yogurt
            - about 1 tbsp miracle whip

            Chop, mix, mash, and wrap in a tortilla, spread on crackers, or eat straight out of the bowl. Om nom nom.

            1. Although, this is very late I just had to mention my experience with smoked herring. Alone, as is, herring is far too salty for my taste. I am referring to the smoked herring that is sold whole or fillet in a shrink wrap package. I was taught to always boil the herring due to the salt content as well making the fish more pliable which makes removing any bones easier. The boiling in plain water for 20 min (or depending on your tastes longer) will draw the salt from the fish and rehydrate it a bit. We drain the boiled fish (setting aside a bit of the water) rinse with cool water and remove ve any large bones and if unwanted skin. Get a saute pan heat a little bit of oil, add some chopped garlic, onions, bell peppers (if you like some heat add some spicy peppers) once soft add some tomatoe sauce and otheother herbs and spices, but REFRAIN FROM adding salt. Add your fish saute for a few minutes Use a small amount of the fluid used to boil the fish to deglaze the pan I would use one serving spoon at a time tasting to ensure it does not become overly salted. If you want more of a sauce add plain water (you can always add more salt to taste by using the salted water). The saucier version would be tossed with pasta (delicious) while the "dryer" version I would use as an appertizer to spread on crackers,etc. Sorry for such a long spew hope you give smoked herring another try just keep in mind boiling is the key to removing the salt. You could also boil the herring being careful not to break the fish down let chill and serve it as is from there. I'm going to try that with a homemade cheese spread :)

              1. I had used this type of herring in an African Stew (Palaver Sauce) a few years ago and only briefly rinsed it. The stew was so salty it was inedible. I'm making it again tomorrow by my son's request (he was the only one who could eat it) and I bought the same smoked herring, but I think after reading the posts here I'll either give it a boil or soak it overnight like bacalao to get rid of the salt. Hopefully the smokiness won't wash out, too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: AmyH

                  Boiling the herring and then giving it a couple of cold water rinses really helped a lot. The stew wasn't salty and the smokiness remained. Unfortunately, my husband and other son still wouldn't eat the stew due to the fishy taste. I thought it was pretty good, although nothing I'd stand in line for, and the son who requested it ate 2 big bowls and will happily eat the leftovers tomorrow.

                2. Pea soup with the herring , pickled beets ,red onion and potato , I have either crackers , a brick style dark rye or maybe a toast.