A traditional, inexpensive and abundant fish; herrings not only provide a creamy, firm flesh and gutsy flavour but are also considered to be richly nutritious - full of omega 3s and vitamin D.
Herrings, once the food of the poor, are considered a great delicacy in numerous European countries, particularly Holland and Scandinavia, but it’s a different story for the ‘silver darlings’ in Britain. Formally a staple fish in these isles the humble herring has somehow become somewhat of a lost and underrated food in need of wider recognition once more.
In the UK, herrings are predominantly found in the shallow and mild waters of the North Atlantic with the majority of stock being fished from Scottish and Northern Irish waters. When buying them - look for the fillets with sparkling, silvery, steel-blue skin and plump but firm flesh as these will be lovely and fresh.
Pickled herrings make a great choice for lunch or dinner – perfect with fresh bread or a creamy potato salad. Alternatively roll fresh herrings in oats and fry them in bacon fat.
- 4 fresh herring - descaled, gutted & filleted
- 60g Salt
- 0.75 litres of cider vinegar
- 6 allspice berries
- 6 black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. of light brown sugar
- 1 small red or white onion, very thinly sliced
- Dissolve the Salt in 500 millilitres of cold water.
- Add the herring fillets and leave for 2-3 hours.
- Put all the pickle mixture ingredients into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
- Drain the herring fillets from the brine and pat dry on kitchen paper. Pour the pickle mixture over the herrings and refrigerate for 2 days before eating.
- They are best eaten between 5-10 days but will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- Serve with pumpernickel (rye bread), potato salad and sweet mustard.