Northumbrian Pickled Salmon

A very old feast-day recipe. The salmon is served hot and is pickled to give it flavour, not to preserve it; today we would call it marinated.


  • 2 lb (1 kg) middle cut of salmon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup (1.5 dl) dry white wine
  • 6 cloves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon mace
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh root ginger
  • 1 tablespoon currants
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley


The marinade was probably served as a sauce originally, but may be a little too sharp for some tastes today. Hollandaise sauce may be preferred.

Put the salmon in a saucepan with enough cold water just to cover the fish. Add the salt and bring gently to the boil. Skim off any froth and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Lift out the salmon, drain it well and put it into a deep dish. Put the water in which the salmon was cooked into a bowl and while it is still hot mix in all the other ingredients except the parsley.

When the salmon is cool, stir the marinade and pour it over the fish. Leave it for a day or overnight, spooning the liquid over the fish from time to time.

Thirty minutes before the salmon is to be served, heat it very gently in the marinade and simmer for 15 minutes until it is heated through. Lift the fish, on to a hot dish, sprinkle with the parsley and spoon the currants over it for decoration and flavour.