Pickled Fried Fish with Danish Rye Bread and Crème Fraîche

Scandinavians brought the technique of pickling delicately fried seafood (a form of escabeche) to Minnesota and swapped the Midwest's freshwater catch for North Sea herring. Seasoning the fish with vinegar, sugar and spices adds great flavor and firms up the texture; it's an overnight process, so plan ahead.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 10
  • Time(Other): Plus overnight pickling
KEY: Seafood

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Ingredients

brine
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
fish
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 pounds skinless walleye, fluke or flounder fillets, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, cut into 10 equal pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Dill sprigs, for garnish
  • Danish rye bread, crème fraîche and minced red onion, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the Brine

    In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are just softened, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely.

  2. Prepare the Fish

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Working with half of the fish at a time, season the pieces with salt and dust with flour; pat off the excess. Add the floured fish to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and fish.

  3. Prepare the Fish

    Spoon half of the brine and vegetables into a large bowl or baking dish. Add the fish and pour the remaining brine and vegetables over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Bring the fish to room temperature before serving.

  4. Prepare the Fish

    Transfer the pickled fish and vegetables to a platter. Garnish with dill sprigs and serve with rye bread, crème fraîche and minced red onion.

Suggested Pairing

Brightly acidic dishes pair well with wines that are more or equally as tangy, like a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Contributed By Photo © Chris Court Published July 2014

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