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Pickled Mackerel and Beetroot Salad (Inlagd Makrill med Rödbetssallad)

A treasure trove of flavors, this dish is a perfect showcase of fresh Swedish ingredients

Pickeled herring can also be used in place of mackerel; either way, this dish is an explosion of flavor, and a good example of Sweden on a plate.

This recipe is courtesy of SwedishFood.com.


For the brining

  • 4 mackerel filets
  • 4 Cups water
  • 1/2 Cup salt

For the pickling

  • 2 Cups white vinegar
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/4 Cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 Teaspoons yellow cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced

For the salad dressing

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons salad oil
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped dill
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sugar

For the salad

  • 2 Small cooked beetroots, thinly sliced
  • 4 Ounces mixed salad leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons salad dressing (directions above)
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic glaze, or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
  • A few small sprigs of dill


For the brining

Mix the salt and water for the brining solution, but there is no need to heat it. After picking over the filets to check that there are no big bones left in them (small bones will dissolve in the vinegar), place the filets in the solution for 3 hours, or until the fish is firm.

For the pickling

Place all the pickling ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Put the fish filets and the pickling vegetables in a sterilised glass jar or container. Pour the pickling solution into the jar until all the fish is covered. Prod the fish lightly to release any trapped air. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for at least two days, preferably longer.

For the salad dressing

Mix together all ingredients thoroughly.

For the salad

Place 3 or 4 slices of beetroot on each plate. Mix the salad with the dressing, add pickled carrots, and place on top of the beetroot slices.

Roll the mackerel up with some pickled onion in the centre and sit on top of the salad. Top with some tiny dill sprigs.

Drizzle with some balsamic glaze and a little olive oil.