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Pacific Herring! Prep and Culinary Tips from Kitchen Catch

Pacific Herring! Prep and Culinary Tips from Kitchen Catch

About the Fish:

Herring can be found pickled at corner stands throughout The Netherlands or elevated on plates throughout DTLA. It's moist, packed full of healthy oils, and easy to pan fry, pickle or smoke.

The Sausalito Herring Festival plus Los Angeles' trend towards of Israeli and Eastern European cuisine is really helping this fish along, too! So keep on spreading the word of herring: pickled, fried, grilled or baked. Our prediction? You'll be ahead of the curve this year having played host to a herring dish before the trend takes off.

Caring for your Share

If keeping you fish frozen, be sure to label with the fish type and date. Keep in the freezer up to six months. To defrost, place in the fridge for 24 hours or place under warm running water while still in the bag. Always defrost fish under running water!

Lastly, this fish does indeed have bones, but they are tiny and thin and easily consumed. We recommend following the recipe below to eat with pasta and the bones will be less noticeable. 

Your Membership Makes an Impact

Believe it or not, most of America's herring is shipped abroad to Japan or turned into pet food! Nothing wrong with some high-quality Omega-3 for our furry friends, but what really matters is how much the fishermen make when their catch is relegated for kibble. Since there is no big American consumer market for this incredible dish, conventional markets leave both California and Alaskan fishermen with very, very little for their catch. But you played a very big part in making a domestic market for this fish today.

This Fish's Journey

These frozen herring were caught by a seine and landed in Bristol Bay, AK in partnership with TwoxSea, our fishermen co-op friends in San Francisco. This catch method for herring is rated "best choice" by Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. As herring swim in large schools during their short season, a boat will release a circular net around the school and pull it up. Since herring swim in such a large school, there is little to no bycatch in this fishery. The closing net resembles a purse, earning the name "purse seine." In larger scale fisheries (think tuna), purse seines can be very unsustainable, as they target fish that swim with species, leading to bycatch, and are so large that the risk of only catching your target species is close to unattainable.



Recipe 1: Herring in Marinara over Spiralized Zucchini



1 medium zucchini, spiralized
3 fillet herring, skin on
2 oz fresh marinara sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 tsp butter
salt and pepper

  • Heat 1 tsp butter in a pan over medium heat, sauté the onions until translucent.
  • Add garlic and carrots and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add herring fillets and cook for another 5 minutes, seasoning with plenty of salt and pepper. It's ok if the herring begins to break apart.
  • Add the fresh marinara to the pan, mixing everything together. You can let the herring break into small bits.
  • Remove from the heat and cool.
  • In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil and add spiralized zucchini. Cook for 2-4 minutes for al dente, or 4-6 for less crunch.
  • Plate by putting zucchini in a bowl and topping with herring and marinara, or mix all together in one serving dish.
  • Enjoy!


Recipe 2: Pickled Herring

This recipe comes from our dear departed friend Chef Ernest Miller, remembered as a kind teacher and talented food historian. Chef Ernest recommends Hank Shaw's recipe for simply pickled herring. You can find the full recipe at Honest Foods online. Below, we copied Hank Shaw's recipe with some tips from Chef Ernest.

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1 pound herring fillets
  • 2 cups distilled or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 oz of Your favorite Pickling Blend


  1. Heat 4 cups of water and dissolve salt. Let this brine cool to room temperature. When it does, submerge the herring fillets in the brine and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  2. Next, bring the sugar, vinegar, pickling spice blend (save a large scoop) and the remaining cup of water to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let this steep until cool.
  3. When the herring have brined, layer them in a glass jar with the sliced lemon and red onion. Include a large scoop of your spice blend. Pour over the cooled pickling liquid and seal the jars. Wait at least a day before eating. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.