Valentine Warner’s pickled herring

  • makes 2 × 500g jars
  • Easy

Valentine Warner's pickled herring make a great snack or lunch served on crusty bread with plenty of butter. Once opened, they'll keep for a week, but will last up to three weeks unopened.



  • herring 4 small, filleted and pin-boned
  • flaked sea salt 2 tbsp
  • crusty bread and butter to serve


  • white wine vinegar 500ml
  • golden caster sugar 200g
  • carrots 2 small, peeled and thinly sliced
  • fennel or dill seeds 1 tsp
  • black mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • bay leaves 2
  • onion 1 medium, peeled and finely sliced into rings


  • Step 1

    To make the marinade, put the vinegar, sugar, carrots, spices and bay leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Leave to cool completely. Blanch the onion in a small pan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain in sieve under running water until cold.

  • Step 2

    Put the herring fillets in a colander and sprinkle the flesh side with salt. Leave to drain over a bowl for 3 hours. Wipe off any excess salt with a dry kitchen towel. Cut each fillet diagonally in two.

  • Step 3

    Sprinkle some of the sliced onion into the base of two sterilised 500ml jars. Add a ladleful of the marinade and drop in a few pieces of the fish. Continue layering the jars with onion, marinade and fish until you reach the top of each jar. Make sure that the marinade completely covers the fish.

  • Step 4

    Cover tightly and chill in the fridge for at least two days before serving. Store in the fridge and eat within a week of opening. They can keep for up to three weeks unopened. Serve with warm, crusty bread and butter.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 399
  • Carbs 17.4g
  • Protein 31.6g
  • Fat 23g
  • Salt 3.54g
  • Fibre 1.2g