Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sildesalat (Herring Salad)

Herring Salad?  HUH! was the response a friend had to my introducing them to this dish.   She was amazed that she had actually eaten pickled herring and not even known it.   I kinda laughed to myself because if you don't know what you're eating, sometimes you might even like it.

Sildesalat was a staple dish at our Boxing Day lunch.   We always made it fresh in the morning and then put it into the fridge so that the flavours could marry and mellow out a little together.    Every family has their own recipe for making this dish, I make it the way my Mom did, cause that's just the right way to make it.  So there!   I love making this for new people, as they get totally amazed at what a few simple ingredients can do when they're introduced to each other in the right proportions.
One thing I do want to stress (nothing like the holidays for a little stress is there?) in this recipe, is that it is important to keep the proportions equal.   In other words, equal amounts of the four main ingredients, with the exception of the herring, with that one you can fudge a little.    And also important, make sure that the dice for all the ingredients are about the same size. And a very small dice is the best.   This time round I got the dice a little big, for my taste, at any rate.   You really do want to make this almost a mince, but not quite.

To start with, you need pickled herring.  And the full recipe is at the end.
Sildesalat ingredients
The Stars of the Show

It is important to note that all the ingredients should be about the same size, all a small dice.
Dump all these into a bowl and give it a toss, just enough to combine.

Pickled Herring

Mix together, taste.  Sometimes the beets aren't very strong and you can add just another slice or two of beets, finely chopped.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then take out of fridge, place in a pretty bowl and decorate with a hard boiled egg or two cut into quarters.   Serve with some fresh french bread and some good butter.
 Now, you'll have to pardon me, there's still a little Sildesalat left in the fridge and I haven't had lunch yet.  

yield: 4 cupsprint recipe

Sildesalat (Pickled Herring Salad

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 3 hourtotal time: 3 hours and 10 mins
Sildesalat was always on the table when we had a Smorgasbord, and it's one of those dishes that means Christmas and family gatherings to me.


  • 1 jar (7oz) Pickled Herring in Wine sauce (drained), about 18 pieces, cut into a small dice
  • 1 cup apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (small dice)
  • 1 cup chopped meat (leftover turkey, beef, chicken, duck or pork), finely diced (small dice)
  • 1 cup pickled beets, drained and finely diced (small dice) Reserve the pickling liquid
  • 1-2 Hard Cooked Eggs, quartered (for the garnish)
  • Mayonnaise, about 1/2 cup, sufficient to moisten the salad (I like Duke's Mayonnaise, it's closest to my own home made mayonnaise)
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow prepared mustard (or use a good Dijon mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon onion juice, prepared by grating a whole onion over a fine grater.
  • 1-2 teaspoons of the Beet pickle juice, just for color.


  1. Dice all the ingredients, making sure they're all same size, a small dice. 
  2. Place into bowl and prepare the sauce. 
  3. Mix the mayonnaise, onion and mustard together. Stir in the beet juice. Pour over the chopped ingredients, toss to combine. Taste. You can add a couple more slices of pickled beets, diced if the beets are mild in taste at this point. 
  4. Refrigerate the salad for at least 3 hours or more to let the flavors combine. Serve with the quartered hard cooked eggs on top as a garnish. You can serve this with slice french bread and butter.
Created using The Recipes Generator
Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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