Herring Salad with Apples

by Kimberley Thompson, Tastemaker in Residence

I am often asked about apples this time of year due to my brother's orchard in Western Minnesota. What one is best for eating, baking, storing, etc. I am asked for recipes; what to take and share, ones to impress, and one to use a lot of apples quickly.

So here are my answers (in order):

Honey Crisp and Zestar.
Keepsake, Fireside and Honeycrisp.

German Apple Kuchen and Apple Crisp.
My Aunt Ron's Topsy-turvy Apple Pie; a Pillsbury Bake Off Runner Up from 1951.
Real Southern Style Apple Butter Preserves. 

I rarely reveal my personal favorite recipe for apples; having learned that when I do I get wrinkled noses and looks of disbelief. "How do you serve that?," or the ever popular blank look has forced me to always refer to a sweet dessert recipe for apples, rather than the savory recipe I prefer.

Which is sad, as apples are the perfect addition to a savory. Apples diced in stuffing, apples tossed in salads, apples roasted with meat...yum!

Which brings me to my favorite apple recipe. HERRING SALAD. Uh-huh,  you heard right. Herring salad. A Scandinavian variant of a chop-chop salad. Perfect for picnics, buffets, casual meals and poker parties.

Being Norwegian,  Swedish and Danish...I will admit there are as many recipes for Apple herring salad as there are Lena and Ole' jokes.


1 8 oz jar GOOD pickled herring, plain not in cream or wine sauce, chopped to a fine dice
3 hard boiled eggs, dice 2, save 3rd for topping
2 boiled and cooled medium beets, cleaned and finely diced
2 large boiled potatoes, finely diced with or without skin
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 apples, seeded without skins and finely diced.
1 tsp fresh dill


  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix the diced herring, 2 hardboiled eggs, beets, potatoes, onions, apples and dill together. Mound on a low plate and cover. Put in fridge for 15 minutes to chill. Sieve remaining hard boiled egg over top just before serving.
  2. Perfect as a side...but my favorite is to put a tablespoon of the salad on a slice of cocktail rye bread and eat it as an open-faced sandwich.

I do know of some Germans who also make Herring salad with a creamy dressing of sour cream, pickle juice and mayonnaise. Me...I am a purist. The sweet, sharp, earthy, pungent and salty flavors hit in each bite with the right amount of chewiness. It doesn't get any better!