Herring Ceviche with Cucumber Foam

The inspiration for serving herring marinated in lime juice with cucumber comes from an amuse bouche served by Albert when he cooked dinner for us.

Brined herring is a Dutch delicacy, prepared by ripening the herrings for a couple of days in oak barrels in a brine. The pancreatic enzymes which support the ripening make this version of salt herring especially mild and soft. Marinating it in lime juice (ceviche style) makes it even milder and softer.  As brined herring is served with pickled cucumber and raw chopped onion in the Netherlands, I prepared the foam with cucumber, yogurt, and raw shallot (a variation of a recipe that came with the iSi gourmet whip). The combination with the herring worked out great and I will definitely make this again.



For 2 to 4 servings as an appetizer

2 brined herrings

2 limes

250 ml (1 cup) full-fat yogurt

1 cucumber, about 500 grams (1.1 lbs)

1 shallot

4 sheets gelatin

salt and freshly ground white pepper

fresh dill


Juice the limes.

Wash the herrings under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.

Arrange the herrings on a plate and cover with the lime juice.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours to marinate.

Soak the gelatin in cold water until it becomes soft.

Wash and dry the cucumber. Roughly chop the cucumber (including peel and seeds, only cut off the ends). Roughly chop the shallot. Put the cucumber, shallot and a few small sprigs of dill in the blender.

Blend until smooth.

Add the yogurt to the cucumber mixture.

Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Stir until the mixture is homogeneous.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

Put about 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the mixture in a saucepan. Wring out the gelatin and add it to the saucepan. Heat gently.

Stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Turn off the heat as soon as possible as you don’t want the heat to affect the flavor. Definitely do not allow the mixture to boil.

Combine the gelatin and cucumber mixture with the remaining cucumber mixture.

Stir to mix.

Transfer the mixture into the iSi.

Charge the iSi with 2 capsules of nitrous oxide (N2O). Shake very well.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

When it is time for service, arrange the foam on plates.

Cut the herring into pieces and arrange on top of the foam. Season the herring lightly with salt. Garnish with dill.

Wine pairing

We enjoyed this with a Pouilly Fumé with great minerality. Similar dry sauvignon blanc with minerality such as Sancerre will work as well.


16 thoughts on “Herring Ceviche with Cucumber Foam

  1. I don’t love the word foam when it’s about modernist cuisine, but yours looks beautiful – like mousse. I’ve never made anything I’m my isi whipper than whipped cream! Must look into this… Beautiful dish!


  2. I just LOOOOVE herring. I love it best with the warm potatoes and fresh butter from the farm. I made gravlax for a dinner party I hosted last night and that’s how I always serve it. Plus of course the ornions, capres and dill sauce 🙂 Great recèpe! Great post as usual!


  3. The herring looks amazing! I am a huge fan of herring. Your foam required such careful preparation and looks beautiful (and tasty!) on the plate. I love the color. Thank you for sharing your recipe… and your knowledge of nitrous oxide – I have never tried to use a canister but maybe it’s time!


  4. A beautifully plated dish, Stefan. I’ve never tried brined herring and wonder if it is even available here. It certainly looks good set atop the cucumber foam, which looks so cool and refreshing. What a delight!


    1. Thanks, John. If you can get pickled herring, you could also make it with that. It wouldn’t need to be marinated in lime juice, just a few drops of lime juice would suffice right before serving.


  5. Twice I have tried to make this dish, which in principle is not that difficult. However, having transferred the yoghurt/cucumber mix to the ISI gourmet whip and having it cooled down in the fridge according to the instructions, the content came out explosion wise, covering the ceiling and adjacent walls (the misses not being happy). The mix came out intermittently, bit of gas, small explosion etc.
    Of course I shook the ISI thoroughly. I wonder wether 4 gelatine sheets is not too much as the content in the whip seemed quite thick. Next time i will try 3 sheets. Could also be that the size of the sheets Stefan used are smaller. Can’t see it on the picture. I wonder using Agar Ager could be a solution. Any suggestion?

    I have used dozens of recipes published by Stefan and I must praise him for the meticulous instructions. When things went wrong I had to blame myself!


  6. Twice I have prepared this dish, which does not look that difficult especially because the instructions Stefan writes are very detailed and clear. I have so far used dozens of his recipes and when something went wrong every time I was te one to blame and not Stefan!

    Preparation of the yoghurt/cucumber mix is easy. I mixed the 4 gelatine sheets according to instructions. After filling the ISI gourmet whip and cooling it in the fridge the content did not come out in a consistent flow but in small explosions (covering walls and ceiling!).
    Thus impossible to produce a nice foam roll.

    My question is: what did I do wrong? The second time I followed the instructions more then meticulously.
    Perhaps is size of the gelatine sheetI used bigger then the ones Stefan used. Should I then use 3 sheets instead of 4?
    Should I replace the sheets by Agar (not in the 3% relation to weight but perhaps 2 %?

    Eagerly waiting for an answer!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eric,
      I’m sorry to hear you are having trouble with this recipe. The strength of the gelatin sheets I used is 12 per litre of liquid. I do think you are on the right track — it sounds like the mixture is too stiff so that the gas does not mix with it. So I would recommend to try it with only 2 gelatin sheets the next time. The gelatin should only thicken the mixture, not set it completely.
      You could also use agar, but again it should be less than needed to set.
      Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.


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