Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Germany: Herring in Yogurt Sauce (Eingelegter Hering)

I know that herring is not a "love-at-first-bite" food for most people. I have to admit that except in this dish, I don't really like it either. However, this particular dish has always been a favorite of mine. Maybe even my all-time favorite dish. The cold yogurt dip is very refreshing in the summer, and I love potatoes. I never formally checked into the history of this dish but I have been asked about the seemingly unusual combination of ingredients several times. What I came up with as an explanation is this: This dish (and similar ones from North Sea bordering countries like the Netherlands and Denmark) is traditionally eaten in May and June. In other words, during the months before new and fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit are available. So all there is to eat, are the long lasting, stored and pickled leftovers from last years crop (i.e. potatoes, pickles, onions and apples). The herring used in this dish, are traditionally young male herring caught before the first spawning. They are then salted and kept in oil. So there you go. I also make other yogurt sauce and potato dishes like a simple mix of yogurt, sour cream, dill, garlic, salt & pepper. I might add some radishes and yellow pepper to that as well. For this dish, I used low-fat yogurt and sour cream but you can choose the regular ones if you like.

1 pound low-fat yogurt
1/3 pound low-fat sour cream
1/4 tsp black pepper
1-2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3-4 tbsp liquid from dill pickles
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-6 dill pickles, chopped
1/2 apple (e.g. Braeburn, Cortland), cut into 1/4 inch by 1 inch sticks
8-9 ounces herring in oil
2 pounds baby potatoes (e.g. Yukon Gold or White)

Whisk together yogurt, sour cream, pepper, mustard, and pickling liquid. Add onion, pickles, and apple, and mix well. Drain herring and pat dry. Cut into 3/4 inch squares and fold into yogurt sauce. Marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Cook potatoes in boiling water for about 20 minutes, until they are soft. Peel potatoes (or not) and serve with the yogurt sauce.


  1. While I am not a herring person - I can honestly see the appeal. Thanks for sharing - it would be perfect for a summer dish! ...and I like potatoes with anything!

  2. This looks soooo good! Truthfully I have never had Herring but I have always wanted to try it! Now I have a reason..thank you!