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Russian lightly salted fish

Pickling herrings involves soaking (brining) herrings in a liquid with salt, sugar and spices. Lightly salted herring is a very popular traditional dish not only in Russia, but also in Holland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and some other northern countries. In Russia traditional lightly salted seledka was always served under sliced onions as a classical snack (zakuska) with vodka.

To make it you can use fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines. It can be used as a starter on its own, in salads and sandwiches, and even as a main course with boiled potato (russian version fish & chips).

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Fish (here: mackerel) 2
Sea or rock salt 2 tbsp
Caster sugar 1 tsp
Coriander 1 tbsp
Ground black pepper 1 tsp
Vinegar 2 tbsp
Water 250 g


  • Wash the fish:


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  • Slit open the fish's belly and ease out the guts;

  • Cut off the head just behind the gills:

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  • Trim off all the fins with scissors. Rinse the fish thoroughly inside and out under cold running water. Cut the fish in even slices:

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  • Place the fish pieces in a plastic or glass jar (don't use jars made of metal!). The head, fins and tail may be used to make fish stock:

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  • Pour some chilled boiled water in the jar to cover the fish pieces:

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  • Now that you now how much water is required to cover the fish, pour it out of the jar into a clean cup to prepare the marinade.

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  • To prepare the marinade, add sea or rock salt to the water in the cup and stir it to dissolve. Add ground black pepper and vinegar. Then add coriander to the fish in the jar:

  • Pour in the marinade over the fish, close the lid on the jar and put it in the fridge for 3 days:

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  • As a serving suggestion, I recommend to try the marinated fish with freshly cooked potatoes and salad:

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Russian open sandwich with seledka (lightly salted fish)
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