In Sweden it is common to eat pickled herring, especially during high times such as Christmas, Easter and Midsummer.
In the past i did like eating the pickled herring, however it was mostly the sauce i liked and not so much the raw fish. Since going vegan i have never tried to recreate this dish, because it just hasn’t been something i have wanted or felt the need to eat. However a few weeks ago i had some extra aubergine i needed to use, as well as all the ingredients to try recreate the sauce so i thought… why not give it a go.
The sauce has a slightly fishy taste from the vegan caviar, but it also has a sweetness due to the marinade, and of course the creaminess from the creme fraiche.
I would recommend you use vegan mayonnaise, or 50/50 vegan creme fraiche and mayonnaise as that will give the best results. But you can switch for a lighter version such as creme fraiche or soya quark.
For the marinade, i have written less sugar than i used as mine was a little too sweet for my preference, so in the recipe it is about 60% sugar than what i used which will hopefully give a better balance, but you can of course use even less, as the sugar is mostly for preserving and giving a little flavour but it shouldn’t be overly sweet.
This dish may sound strange for many who aren’t from the Nordic countries, but all countries have their different cuisines and dishes… so if you are willing to try something new and different, give this a try. Of course, i don’t know who readily available vegan caviar is in other countries…. Maybe Ikea will have it if you have an Ikea close by…? Otherwise you could always try adding some seaweed flakes/crushed up seaweed to give it a slightly “fishy taste”.
Also, in Sweden there are many different types of pickled herring with different sauces such as onion based, mustard based and each year they have a new sauce the exclusive/limited edition sauce, hahah. But many companies have also realised that not everyone wants to eat fish and have made alternatives based on tofu, which are very tasty in my opinon.
You could switch the aubergine for tofu in this recipe, though i would then use a firm tofu and you don’t need to salt it… however you should press it of water before marinating!
For the marinade:
3 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
½ small red onion, diced
For the “herring”
For the sauce:
½ red onion
200ml vegan creme fraiche, or 50/50 crème fraiche and vegan mayonnaise
2 tbsp vegan caviar
½ lemon (juice)
Salt and pepper
In a pot, add all the ingredients for the “marinade” and allow to boil for a few minutes.
In the meantime, rinse the aubergine and chop into small cubes. Pour over a little salt and allow sit for about 10 minutes, so that some of the moisture is drawn out.
Add the aubergine to the “marinade” and allow to boil for a few minutes before removing from the heat. Then allow to cool down before placing in the fridge overnight.
Prepare the other sauce as well, so that it can sit overnight as well, and the flavours will be a lot stronger and combined.
To make the sauce, dice the onion and the dill. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning according to preference. Allow sit in the fridge overnight as well.
In the morning, pour away the “marinade” from the aubergine and mix the aubergine into the other sauce. Preferably, you then let that sauce sit for another few hours in the fridge, but it is fine to just mix and eat directly.
This is a remake of a class Swedish dish, i.e skärgårdssill. You can make this recipe using tofu instead of aubergine, and you can make a mustard sauce instead of the caviar based one.
In the future I will be making this for Christmas, midsummer, Easter and all those other hightimes when the non vegan version is classic at the table!