A recipe featured in the Outdoor News Taste of the Wild
A little bit of patience is necessary to craft your own pickled fish, since the recipe involves a period of brining the fish to give it stability, then the actual pickling process. You can utilize anything from fresh panfish, to walleye or even halibut and salmon with this core recipe, and add the optional slices of either fresh oranges or lemon for an additional pop of flavor. But the process is relatively simple, so clear out a spot in the refrigerator and get started.
Important note: Always freeze your fish and thaw in the refrigerator before pickling!
½ cup non-iodized salt (canning salt)
1 quart cool water
1 ½ lbs. of fish (Use panfish, pike, walleye, herring, salmon, or halibut) Remove scales and (if desired) skin from the fish and cut fish into bite-sized chunks.
Using a large stainless or glass (NOT aluminum) container, combine salt and water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add the fish chunks and gently stir to make sure pieces are separated. Place in refrigerator, covered, for at least 24 hours.
1 to 1 ½ quarts of white vinegar
After 24 hours, drain off and discard the salt brine, then completely cover the fish with white vinegar. As with the salt brine step, it is important to gently stir the fish to separate and make sure all pieces are exposed to the vinegar. Cover and refrigerator for another 12 hours.
Drain & discard vinegar
Make a spiced syrup solution:
4 cups white vinegar
3 cups white sugar
1 cup white wine (a sweeter Riesling or Pinot Grigio work best)
¼ cup pickling spice
3 bay leaves
Dissolve sugar in vinegar. Heat, but don’t boil. Add wine, spices & bring to a boil, immediately remove from heat and allow to *completely cool.
*Hint from the Kitchen: Make the syrup the same day that you put the fish in the vinegar bath, so it has a chance to be thoroughly chilled before the next step.
2 raw onions, sliced thin
Optional: 2 oranges or lemons, sliced thin like onions
Using clean canning jars with lids or several smaller containers you can tightly cover, make alternating layers of a few fish chunks, some onion slices, and if desired, lemon or orange slices until the jar is almost full, then pour spiced syrup solution over the top. It is better to use several smaller containers instead of one large container for the best flavor.
Cover and refrigerate for about 2 weeks. It is ok to eat after about a day, but you will find that the flavors marry if you let it rest at least a week. You must absolutely keep this refrigerated at all times.
To enjoy, simply lift fish pieces from the pickling juice and serve with crackers.
Here’s a video of how to fillet a Northern Pike Check out this video