Known as “Harengs Pommes à l’Huile”, this traditional Pickled Herring and Potato Salad is a classic Bistro starter in France. The tang of the pickled herrings compliments the creaminess of simple boiled potatoes, all bound together with a tangy red onion vinaigrette. This humble dish is often served during Winter as it is nutritious, packed with good fats from the fish and very satisfying. This is a quick, easy and affordable recipe to recreate at home. I love to make it when I yearn for a satisfying yet healthy-ish starter or quick weekday lunch.
- It should be mentioned that the traditional French “Harengs Pommes à l’Huile” salad is more often made with smoked herring, rather than pickled herrings filets. You can find the smoked herring version of this salad often served in the city of Lyon, in the local “bouchons” (name given to Lyon bistros), where it is a beloved local specialty. As with most classic French recipes, I like to say there are likely as many versions of this salad as home cooks in France. Some prefer the saltiness and boldness of smoked herrings, some prefer the brightness and tang of pickled herrings. I love both versions, and often use what I have on hand – smoked or pickled. If you’ve never had this recipe before, I find pickled herrings to be just a little bit more approachable in taste, which is why I suggest using them in the first place. You can simply buy a jar of rollmops, and cut each rollmops into large chunks. But feel free to substitute with smoked herring (same quantity) if you wish.
- I love Yukon Gold potatoes for this salad. They are creamy and buttery, yet hold their shape quite well once cooked. You can also opt for small new potatoes, red-skinned or even fingerling potatoes. I keep the skin on the potatoes, but feel free to peel them if you prefer without the skin.
- Cook the potatoes until you can easily poke a knife in them; but they shouldn’t be mushy. Then, drain and rinse them right way under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Make sure you prepare the vinaigrette at least 30 minutes before serving. The red onion needs to macerate in the vinaigrette for a little while to loose its “edge”.
- You can substitute the ½ red onion with 2 or 3 small shallots, if you wish.
I hope you’ll love this Pickled Herring and Potato Salad (Harengs Marinés Pommes à l’Huile) recipe as much as I do!
You may also like:
- Classic French-Style Potato Salad
- Provençal Chickpea Salad with Olives, Anchovies and Celery
- French-Style Couscous Salad
- Herby Sugar-glazed Spring Vegetable Jardiniere
- Frisée with bacon and eggs
3 tbsp (45ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dijon mustard
5-6 sprigs fresh parsley, stemmed and roughly chopped
A handful of fresh dill, stemmed and roughly chopped
½ red onion, peeled and sliced in half rounds
1 lb (450G) potatoes (yukon gold)
1 tbsp salt
About 20-25 chunks pickled herring (4 rollmops, chopped in large chunks)
Make sure you read the cooking notes (above) before you start.
Step 1 - In a small bowl, combine the EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously with a fork to blend and emulsify. Add Dijon mustard, chopped parsley, chopped dill and red onion. Toss to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, to cut off the edge of the red onion.
Step 2 - Place the potatoes (peeled or unpeeled) in a large pot and cover by an inch of water. Add 1 tbsp of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes until you can easily poke a knife into the potatoes. Drain immediately into a colander/strainer and rinse under cold water. The potatoes should have cooled slightly, but still be warm to the touch.
Step 3 - Slice the potatoes into 1 inch thick slices and arrange in 4 individual bowls or plates. Place 4-5 pieces of herring on top (per person) and drizzle generously with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appétit!