Matjessill Sallad

Serves: 2
Approx cost: €3
Approx calories (per serving): ~520
Approx preparation and cooking time: 20 mins

I don’t know about you, but I love going to Ikea. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak, but I love wandering around dreaming about the things I could buy if I actually had a house, instead of an apartment, and a garden. Sure, they have some funky stuff in Ikea, but they also have some really good, solid furniture. Having family in Sweden I’m also no stranger to the various foods common there and so I particularly enjoy the food-store at the end of the shopping trip. While they don’t stock everything… or even most of the things I’d like to pick up (“Limpa” bread for example… oh my God!) they do, all the same, have a great number of things which I enjoy. Various things with reindeer meat, hard “knäckebröd” bread, and “dammsugare” cakes, whose name literally means “vacuum cleaner” are just some of them, and then there is the refrigerator of joy. Shelf after shelf of tasty little chunks of soused or pickled herring in various different sauces.

One of my favourites, and the basis for the recipe today is something called “Matjessill”. Wikipedia’s English article for this goes to the entry for Soused Herring, although I’m not sure if this is entirely accurate. I’d always thought soused herring was a lot sharper in taste (perhaps I’m completely wrong and have it confused with pickled herring?!), whereas Matjessill has a very warm flavour. I can totally understand that it’s not to everyones’ taste, but if you live near an Ikea, or even if you have a place where you can get herring from (soused or otherwise), I’d strongly recommend that you give this a try!


Matjessill Sallad ingredients

– ~350g Potatoes
– 3 Eggs
– 150g (Drained weight) Soused Herring (Matjessill)
– Half an Onion
– 30g Butter
– Large handful fresh Parsley


  1. Start off by putting two pans of water on the stove to boil up. While the water is heating, peel the potatoes and then chop them in half before putting the potatoes into one pan and the eggs into another.

    Boiling the egg and potatoes

  2. While these are boiling, take the half Onion and chop it as finely as possible, before setting aside.

    Chopping the onion

  3. If you haven’t already, drain the soused herring and set aside on a plate, and then wash the parsley well and chop finely. Once the eggs have been boiling for about 5-6 minutes, remove them from the heat and run them under cold water. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel them, and carefully separate the whites and the yolks.

    Separating and chopping the egg

  4. Chop the yolks finely and set aside, and then chop the whites finely as well and transfer to another bowl or container. After about 10-15 minutes,  check the potatoes. If you can run a fork or skewer through them, they’re done, so take them off and drain away the water and you should then have something that looks a little like this.

    All the prepared ingredients

  5. Slice the potatoes and then take a large, preferably rectangular, dish, and start to arrange the ingredients in columns, as per the photo below.

    Arranging the ingredients

  6. Once this is done, sprinkle the onion and parsley over the top and take to the table (or serving area). Get everything ready to eat – forks, plates etc, and then melt the butter, either over a stove or in a microwave. Immediately before serving, pour the hot butter over the salad and serve immediately. It always seems a shame to mess up the perfectly arranged dish by serving it up, but the taste should hopefully make up for this pain!

    Matjessill Sallad


  1. says

    Wonderful presentation Charles! This looks gorgeous. I'm not sure I've ever had herring before. I'm guessing it's salty, yes? Hmm…I'm thinking I may have to go visit Ikea's food area. I've been to Ikea a number of times, but always seem to walk right by the food. Not sure how that happens – probably because I was always overloaded with bags. LOL! :)

    • says

      Not actually that salty – nothing like anchovies if that's what you're thinking. Preserved herring with potatoes and onion is quite a traditional Swedish dish and it's really delicious too. I'd definitely recommend you make a point of going to the food store the next time you're there, you won't regret it! Thanks for stopping by, hope you had a good weekend :)

  2. says

    Wow, this is one of the best looking salads I've ever seen! – I love the onion/parsley finish and the egg separation is really neat – I don't think I've ever done that before or seen it. I'm not very brave when it comes to eating large pieces of raw fish (as distinct from sushi) but the hot butter over the herring does sound pretty enticing…

    • says

      Thanks! – It always makes me so sad to serve it up though, because it goes from being so beautiful to being a big pile on the plate, but it really is good. I agree about the fish – the first time I was a bit apprehensive about eating it, but after you're used to it the taste is incredible. "Worst" case scenario, you could probably exchange the herring for another type of fish – even tuna perhaps. Let me know if you give it a try! :)

  3. says

    That is such a cool presentation. I love that it's not just stirred together. And soused herring. That just sounds cool.

    • says

      Thanks Greg – it's really delicious. Something about the taste is very "homely", hard to explain. Let me know if you ever try it, and have a good day! :)

  4. says

    This is lovely!! It doesn't look that hard to prepare too, LOL! (Yeah, I am no cook:p )

    What a coincidence that you were blogging about Ikea too…but we don't have stuffs like these in our Ikea, mostly furnitures and the canned/packed food…guess it's different in other countries:) I shall make it a point to check out Ikea in the countries I travel to next time;)

    • says

      Hi Christy – weird coincidence indeed! I think Ikea tailors their stuff quite carefully to each country they're in… of course, things which work in France for example, might not work in Australia and so forth. Can you buy the really cheap hotdogs at Ikea in your country? I love that you can go in, buy a donut, a coffee, an ice-cream, a hot-dog and a bottle of water or something for just 50 cents per item – really cool!

  5. says

    SO glad I'm a fish-eating vegetarian, because I'm totally going out to buy some herring tomorrow! This salad looks gorgeously delicious–like everyone says, great presentation, Charles!

    And thanks for the warm welcome back to the blogosphere–it's blogs like yours that keep me inspired.

    • says

      Thanks Joanna! I love the spice/preserving mix used in making soused herring – if you can find that try to get that one, it works best. It's so simply but so satisfying too! :) Hope you have a good day :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *