How to pickle a herring to get a good result?
Salted herring is a traditional dish. Initially, people were worried about how to salt the herring so that it was stored for a long time and did not spoil, and for some time they generally considered it the food of the poor. The fact is that with the classical methods of cooking this fish, bitterness is felt if it is not removed from the gills. Later, when the fishermen learned how to properly cut and salt herring, noble people did not neglect it either. Today everyone has the opportunity to learn how to deliciously pickle herring at home and serve it to the table..
See also: salting lard at home!
How to choose herring for pickling?
In stores, you can choose a ready-made product, which you just have to take out of the package and put on a dish. However, every housewife worries about the quality of the fish and its taste, and the best way to be confident in the product is to cook it yourself. The freshness of the fish and the composition of the brine remain in question if you do not participate in all stages of the preparation of the dish..
Before you pickle the herring at home, you need to choose the right fish:
- Fresh herring on the market or in the store should not give off an unpleasant odor. Beam choose whole carcasses with a head – the freshness of the fish can be judged by the state of its eyes and gills.
- Frozen fish should be taken in stores with the date of freezing and the expiration date of the product. Her skin should be clean, free from damage and a yellow tint..
- High-quality herring in any form has a silvery sheen, clean, unclouded eyes, fins and gills that fit tightly to the body.
- If you have a choice, it is better to take herring caught in the ocean. Sea water is more saturated with toxins, heavy metals and harmful products of the processing of various substances.
- Herring caught in winter has a denser layer of fat.
Fresh herring is the best option, especially if you can find it close to the fishing spot. If this is not possible, the salting of fresh-frozen herring remains at home. In any case, it is better to choose large fish with round sides and a thick back – it will have the most delicious meat..
Preparation for salting
The first rule applies to frozen herring – it must be thawed so that it does not lose its taste. For this, the fish is left in the refrigerator overnight. This temperature will be enough for the ice to melt, but it will retain the structure and taste of the herring. It is not recommended to defrost it at a high temperature..
Before salting the herring, the gills must be removed in it. It is they who give the undesirable bitterness to the finished product, because of which it could not be cooked tasty for a long time. This procedure can be done with your hands, a knife or scissors..
If the herring is not gutted before pickling, the salt and spices will be evenly distributed throughout the carcass. Of course, you can remove the insides, so that then you just have to cut the fish. If fish with entrails is salted, caviar and milk are left and also placed in brine.
There is a separate preparation technique before pickling the herring quickly. It is cleaned of gills and viscera, the head, intestines and films are removed, and then placed in brine. The meat quickly absorbs salt and spices and is ready to eat in 3-4 hours. This is an express option when you need to quickly prepare fish for a festive table. Such salted herring cannot be stored for a long time, and its taste may be less bright than with prolonged salting..
It must be said that the recipes differ from the type and size of fish. Before salting the Don herring, a brine is prepared, which is not suitable for ocean fish. The concentration of the ingredients can be slightly changed to taste..
Classically salted herring, without additional spices, can be used in any dishes. It is added to salads “Olivier” and “herring under a fur coat”, as well as separately with a side dish. This is a way of salting the whole herring at home, that is, it will need to be gutted and cleaned before use. For this recipe you will need 2 large fish, 1-2 tablespoons of salt and sugar and 700 ml of water.
Next, you need to prepare the brine and herring and combine them in one container:
- In fish, the gills are removed, leaving the insides, and laid out in a deep glass container. The picture shows schematically how to properly remove the gills with scissors.
- The water is boiled separately with the addition of salt and sugar, and then cooled to room temperature.
- The fish are poured with brine so that they are completely covered with liquid..
- For the first hour, the herring should be warm, and then put it in the refrigerator. After 2-7 days, the herring is ready for use in any form.
Salting herring lasts from several days to a week, it depends on the personal taste preferences of the hostess. In 2-3 days the fish will become lightly salted, and in a week it will absorb a large amount of salt.
Spicy salted herring
The next recipe for salting herring is spicy herring, which is obtained with a bright aftertaste and characteristic smell. You can experiment with spices, but the traditional way of preparing spicy fish requires:
- 2 large fish;
- 1 liter of water;
- salt (3 tablespoons) and sugar (1 or 2 tablespoons);
- 10 black peppercorns;
- 4 large bay leaves;
- a few dry unmilled carnation flowers.
Further, the process does not differ from the previous method. The fish are poured with brine, left warm for an hour, then placed in the refrigerator. Salting time – from 2 to 7 days.
Herring with mustard
According to this recipe, you can pickle the whole herring at home. In addition to two fish, you will need 1 liter of water, 5 tbsp. l. salt, 3 tbsp. l. sugar, 1 tablespoon black pepper, coriander and herbs to taste.
Then you can use one of the methods:
- The fish are thawed, gills are removed, but not gutted. They are completely greased with mustard sauce while the rest of the ingredients are boiled and cooled. Herring is poured with brine and sent to the refrigerator.
- The herring is cleaned, the entrails, gills and head are removed. All components are mixed in a saucepan, except for mustard powder (added after boiling). The brine is cooled and the herring is poured over it.
A properly prepared herring pickle is the main goal. Any combination of ingredients can be added to it. The main thing is that they do not deteriorate and do not change the consistency of the brine. Therefore, only mustard powder can be added to the liquid – it will completely dissolve and evenly be absorbed into the meat. If using mustard in the form of a sauce, it is better to distribute it by hand over the carcasses..
Herring in brine
Tuzluk is a strong salt solution that keeps fish fresh for a long time. This is one of the difficult recipes for salting herring at home. A liter of water is heated in a saucepan, and after boiling, salt is added to it. The brine is considered ready when the salt no longer dissolves, but settles to the bottom. Next, the fish, ready for salting, is poured with brine and placed in the refrigerator for 2-7 days..
If you put an egg in brine, it should stick to the surface, and not sink..
There is also a method for dry salting of fish, without preparing the brine. For one medium fish, you will need a spoonful of salt and sugar, as well as spices to taste.
Herring pickling process:
- Each carcass is carefully rubbed with a mixture of seasonings. Salt should be absorbed evenly, including into the gill cavities.
- Each fish is wrapped in several layers of cling film and placed in the refrigerator.
- The herring is ready to eat in a few days..
If you don’t have time to wait a week, there is a way to pickle herring quickly and tasty. If you defrost and clean the fish in the morning, it will be ready by evening. The carcass is rubbed with a mixture of seasonings (2 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar), wrapped in film and sent to the refrigerator for several hours. Then it is taken out, washed under water, seasoned with onion rings and sunflower oil and put back in the cold. After half an hour, you can already serve it to the table..
Salting of the Don herring
Donskaya herring is a good option for pickling as it is more fatty and has a mild creamy taste. Traditionally, the Don or Black Sea herring is salted in brine and left in barrels for the winter. The method of home-style salting of herring in brine is slightly different from the classic one, since the fish is kept in a small glass container. For brine, you will need at least 100 g of salt per 1 liter of water, as well as spices to taste.
Salted herring is not only an ingredient in salads and sandwiches, but also an independent dish. So as not to worry about the quality of store fish, you can spend a little time and cook it yourself. The main thing is fresh high-quality herring and a properly prepared pickle. The concentration of the solution varies depending on the type and size of the herring: the recipes for salting the Don herring at home are not the same as for other species. There are ways of quick and dry salting, with spices and mustard, lightly salted and salted herring.
See also the article: how to salt mackerel?