Arenque Guisado (Herrings in Tomato Sauce)

Arenque guisado (Herrings in tomato sauce)

Smoked herrings is one of those ingredients that, although arrived from faraway lands, seems to be an essential part of our cuisine. It’s funny that in the area of the world where it should be best-known I have never found anyone that actually knew it.


As fish is my basic source of protein – since I don’t eat meat – my visits to Denmark afford me the opportunity to sample a variety of fish that are not common in the DR. Herring is one of those. Like all fish from the northern seas, herring is a very fatty fish, which makes it very flavorful. Strangely enough, for all the ways I have seen herrings prepared here (more than I can remember) I have never seen it offered in the manner that we Dominicans are used to.

Arenque guisado (Herrings in tomato sauce)

I have seen arenque guisado served any time from breakfast to dinner, so if you are not afraid of a very heavy breakfast, or dinner feel welcome to try it.

By the way some people swear by the aphrodisiac properties of arenque, something I don’t feel qualified to comment on.

Arenque guisado (Herrings in tomato sauce)

This is a dish that can be consumed for breakfast (if you don’t mind a heavy breakfast, that is), lunch or dinner. If you like strong tastes this is something that will definitely appeal to you.

Aunt Clara
Arenque Guisado Recipe (Herrings in Tomato Sauce)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Arenque (Herrings in Tomato Sauce) is a dish that some people love, and some hate, there doesn't seem to be a middle point. Where are you on this?
Serves: 6 porciones
  • 2 lb [0.91 kg] of smoked, salted herrings (see photo above)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 peppers cut julienne
  • 4 plum tomatoes cut into eights (or 1 doz. cherry peppers halved)
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  1. Soak the herrings in a galon [4 lt] of water for half an hour. Remove from the water.
  2. Boil the herrings in half a gallon [2 lt] of clean water till it starts flaking (15-20 mins). Remove from the water and cool to room temperature.
  3. Flake the herrings, cleaning from bones and skin. Set aside.
  4. In a pot heat the oil over medium heat. Cook and stir onion, peppers, and tomatoes until cooked-through (about 5 mins).
  5. Stir in herrings, ½ cup of water and tomato sauce. Season with salt to taste. Simmer until everything is heated through.
  6. Serve with white rice or boiled cassava.
Receive Aunt Clara’s Updates
Find out about new recipes, articles, and sometimes exclusive content.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • myFudo September 19, 2011, 12:09 AM

    Love the photos… look so nice, mouth watering I must say :) Love your blog.

  • Chloe Madison Marie September 18, 2011, 11:56 PM

    The blue tea towel is adorable, I love it. I personally just love herrings, I like them pickled too.

  • Russell at Chasing D September 18, 2011, 6:34 PM

    Gorgeous shots! This recipe looks delicious too.

    • Aunt Clara September 18, 2011, 6:42 PM

      Thanks! Yes, it is delicious. If you can find the ingredients, do try it.

  • dadymack August 20, 2011, 6:05 AM

    they make this dish in Jamaica also. I remember my Dominican grandfather and my Jamaican grandmother arguing over ingredients on Sunday Mornings in the east end of Paris in French flavored with a few curses in English and Spanish . I just now realize how multicultural that was. thanks for the flashback