Pickled Northern – The Result

Posted by MNAngler On November - 17 - 2009

Pickled Northern on a Ritz cracker

The results are in. And nobody was voted off!

After letting our Northern simmer and stew in pickling brine for the minimum 8 days (we were impatient), we finally got to try some. They turned out great! The taste and texture was just like pickled herring.

The difference was that our pickled Northern, especially in the smaller pint jars, was a bit more sour than store bought pickled herring. My stomach wasn’t used to it, so I couldn’t eat too much in one sitting–even though I wanted to. But for others that tried it, the sourness didn’t bother them. The fish in the bigger half gallon jars was more palatable. It could be the extra fish in the bigger jar absorbed more of the vinegar.

The other difference was that our pieces were bigger. A lot bigger. Next time we’ll have to make sure we cut the chunks smaller. The fillets from my 27-incher didn’t help. They were too thick (see below).

The spicy version didn’t turn out that spicy. It did, however, have a depth to it that the non-spicy version didn’t have. It had an extra tang. Next time we’ll have to add more red jalapeño peppers. Or plan ahead and buy some chili peppers. The red jalapeños where nice, though, because they added some color to the mix.

Chunk of pickled Northern on a crackerIf you’re new to eating pickled fish, you should know that you need to eat them with crackers. The cracker adds a crunchy texture that adds to the firmness of the fish.

Take a piece of fish, some onions, and pop the whole thing into your mouth at once. Don’t be shy. Everyone will be doing it this way. I would recommend a more hearty cracker like Breton rather than Ritz. The Ritz add a sweetness, which compliments the sourness of the pickling brine, but they are on the smallish side and can crumble easily. I like the heartier cracker because it adds a more wholesome, nuttier taste. The crackers are a bit bigger, so if you don’t have a big mouth like mine, it could be harder to take all in one bite, but at least your piece of fish will fit on it without a problem.

Overall, we’re very happy with how it all turned out. We’ll definitely be making more next summer. I’m happy that I now have a reason to take all those vicious Northern out of my father-in-law’s lake.

5 Responses to “Pickled Northern – The Result”

  1. Bass Fishing says:

    I started to like your recipes.
    Can you post more with fish ingredients?

  2. BP says:

    Another good use of this recipe is to save your y bone meat in a freezer bag. When you get enough saved up you pickle them. The bones become real soft like jelly. No waste and fresh fillets with no bones. An old Norwergian farmer/fisherman taught me this.

    • MNAngler says:

      Given my relative inexperience with filleting Northern, there were plenty of bones in these fillets. Pickling them was a great way to have Northern without worrying about the bones.

  3. Jenny says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I ate Pickled Northern as a child growing up in northern Minnesota. My dad made this wonderful recipe but he has long lost it and can’t remember all the ingredients. I’m going to attempt pickling northern for the first time on my own today! I’m starting from frozen fish that I got from a local vendor with local Northern Pike. My dad is flying in today from Colorado and I’m hoping to give this to him as a little gift and trip down memory lane. I hope its ready by Friday!

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