Pickled Herring with Pomegranate and Persimmon on Rye Crackers

Source: Roberth Sundell, Stockhome

Recipe Type: | Seasons: ,

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on November 24, 2018. 

Makes about 4 servings


Salt Cure 

3 pounds fresh herring
1 pound rock salt
1 quart water
½ cup sea salt
¼ teaspoon curing salt

Pickling Brine

3 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 allspice berries
2 bay leaves
½ leek, sliced thinly into rounds
1 carrot, sliced thinly on a mandolin
1 red onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into thin wedges
1 bunch dill weed tops

Rye Crackers

1 ounce fresh (cake) yeast
2 cups water at 98°F
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon each ground star anise, fennel seeds, and cumin seeds
1 ounce butter, room temperature
3 cups rye flour
2½ cups wheat flour


4 ounces unsalted butter
1 persimmon, cut in ½ and thinly sliced on a mandolin
Arils from ½ pomegranate
2 ounces fresh horseradish


To prepare the herring: Clean the herring by scaling the fish, then twist the heads gently until they release, along with the innards. Pour a shallow layer of rock salt into the bottom of a porcelain or plastic dish that’s slightly larger than a heavy plate (which you will use to weight it herring down as you cure it). Do not use metal, as the salt will pull the metal flavor into the fish. Add the fish, layering with more rock salt as needed. In a separate container, mix the water, salt, and curing salt together. Pour over the fish and rock salt and cover with a heavy plate. Place in the refrigerator and leave for 3 days. When the fish has cured, remove it from the curing solution and rinse well in cold water. Let sit in cold water for an hour, changing the water every 15-20 minutes. Taste the herring to make sure it’s not overly salty. Filet the fish and cut each filet into 6-8 pieces.

To pickle the herring: Bring the vinegar, sugar, water, allspice and bay leaves to a boil in a small pot. Cool to room temperature. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. In a bowl or pot, layer the herring pieces and vegetable/brine mixture. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for 24 hours.

To make the rye crackers: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Mix the yeast and water together in the bowl of a stand mixer. When the yeast mixture is foaming (about 5 minutes), add the remaining ingredients. Mix on low speed for 10 minutes with a paddle attachment. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Roll out ¼ of the dough at a time as thinly as you can, using a Nordic rolling pin. Bake on parchment-lined sheet pans for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before breaking into individual crackers.

To make the brown butter and assemble the crackers: In a small pan, cook the butter over medium heat until all of the solids sink to the bottom of the pan and the butter gives off a nutty smell. Top each cracker with a piece of herring and some of the vegetables used to pickle them, drizzle with a little brown butter and top with a slice of persimmon, a few pomegranate arils, and some freshly shaved horseradish. Serve immediately.

Farmers Market Ingredients