Polish Herrings in Oil (Sledz w Oleju)

Herring in oil with onions on plate

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Prep: 70 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Marinate: 0 mins
Total: 0 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
19 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 19
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 150901mg 6,561%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 0g
Calcium 122mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Polish herrings in oil, sledz w oleju (SHLEDGE vef oh-LAY-yoo), is from chef Marek (Mark) Widomski, founder, and director of the Culinary Institute in Cracow, Poland. Herring is one of Poland's favorite appetizers. Salt herring, required for this recipe, are generally available from the barrel at Polish, Jewish, and other international delis. Raw herring is heavily salted to prevent spoilage, so you will need to soak them to get rid of the saltiness.

Poles love herring in myriad forms—pickled, creamed, fried, whole, fillets—and in another appetizer recipe known as rollmops or rolmopsy in Polish. 

Herring is featured throughout the year in Poland but especially at holiday times like Christmas Eve, known as wigilia, New Year's Eve celebrations, and on Shrove Tuesday before Lent.


  • 8 salt herring fillets
  • 1 onion (large, sliced)
  • 1/2 cup oil (olive or sunflower; or enough to cover the fish)
  • 3 allspice seeds
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf

Steps to Make It

  1. Soak herring in cold water for at least 1 hour. If very salty, repeat, changing the water each time.

  2. Drain thoroughly and slice herring into bite-size pieces.

  3. Place in a jar large enough to accommodate the pieces and cover with oil, allspice, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Close the jar.

  4. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days before eating. This will keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

  5. Serve with finely chopped onion or onion slices, lemon, and parsley or dill.