RECIPE: Etta’s Presents – Alaska Herring with Allspice-Pickled Fennel, Horseradish Cream, and Caraway Breadcrumbs

Alaska Herring with allspice-pickled fennel, horseradish cream, and caraway breadcrumbs from Etta’s for Alaska Herring Week 2017! Photo courtesy Etta’s.

Let us introduce you to Alaska Herring with allspice-pickled fennel, horseradish cream, and caraway breadcrumbs from Etta’s in Pike Place Market, for Alaska Herring Week 2017!

Wanna make this at home? You can purchase the same Alaska Herring fillets being used by Seattle’s top chefs for Alaska Herring Week from Central Coop on Capitol Hill, Freshy’s Seafood Market on Mercer Island, Old Ballard Liquor Co. in Ballard, and Wild Salmon Seafood Market at Fisherman’s Terminal! Once you’ve done that, here’s the recipe:

Alaska Herring with allspice-pickled fennel, horseradish cream, and caraway breadcrumbs


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Peel of one lemon
  • 1 small shallot, sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons dried allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon each juniper berry, mustard seed, whole coriander
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 2 pounds herring sides

Bring all ingredients excluding herring and ice water to a boil. Simmer for five minutes, then cool to room temperature. Combine with ice water and pour over herring. Allow herring to brine for at least eight hours.


  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup potato flour

Combine in a mixing bowl with a whisk.


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Mix well and allow at least one hour before serving.


  • 3 cups champagne vinegar
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup dried allspice berries
  • ½ cup fresh dill
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, sliced ¼” thick

Bring all ingredients excluding fennel to a boil, then pour over sliced fennel. Cool to room temperature, then store chilled. Allow at least two hours before serving.


Remove herring from brine and pat dry. In a sauté pan, heat a neutral-flavored oil – such as rice or grapeseed oil – to about 400F, enough oil to almost submerge the herring. Thoroughly coat both sides of the herring with dredge. Once oil is hot, fry on both sides, about two minutes skin-side down, then one minute flesh-side down. Remove herring from oil when crispy and place on paper towels. Spoon a few tablespoons horseradish cream onto a plate, then place herring on the cream, skin-side up. Sprinkle caraway breadcrumbs on the crispy skin, then place the pickled fennel cascading off the side of the fish. Garnish with early summer blossoms, such as mustard or arugula flowers.


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