Herring have been a staple food source, especially for northern Europeans. There are numerous ways the fish is served and many regional recipes: eaten raw, fermented, pickled, or cured by other techniques. Kippered herring is also very popular.
Pickled herring is a very popular Scandinavian food item and has been around for a long time. In preparation herring are cut into fillets and placed in a vinegar/salt/sugar solution to which peppercorn, bay leaves and raw onions are added. Once the pickling process is finished they are usually enjoyed on a dark rye bread slice. This dish is a must at Christmas and Midsummer. In the United States, pickled herring is often sold and consumed in a sour-cream based sauce, as well as in the more traditional wine- and vinegar-based marinades that are known as rollmops.
Pickled herring recipes abound. It is good luck to have a bit of pickled herring for Christmas Eve and New Years Eve after the toast. Polish recipe for pickled herring is the best for the occasion. 2 lbs salt herring fillets, ¾ cup water, 3/4 cup white vinegar, 1bay leaf, 2cloves garlic, 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice, 1/4 teaspoon dill seeds, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1red onion. Soak the fillets in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Change water twice. To make the pickling solution, combine water, vinegar, seasonings and sugar in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar; let cool. Rinse the fillets with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish in 1-inch pieces removing bones. Peel and slice onion. Separate slices into rings. Arrange herring and onion rings in alternate layers in sterilized jars. Cover with pickling solution and cap. Refrigerate at least 3 days before serving. The herring will keep up to 3 weeks refrigerated.
Kippering is another good way to make herring. A kipper is a whole fish that has been split from tail to head, eviscerated, salted, and smoked. Typically the species is a herring or salmon but traditionally it would be any fish found in great numbers caught during its spawning period. In Scandinavian, herring soup is also a traditional soup. Herring is also canned and exported by many countries.