As with all oily fish, herring benefits from a sharp sauce. This recipe goes one further and “cooks” or cures the herrings in lemon juice. Pickled herrings are popular in many formats all across Europe. This version has an Italian feel by choosing specific lemons varieties however it is a recipe that you can customise quite easily to your own preferences or to what is in your fridge or cupboard.

About Herrings

Herrings are an oily silver fish popular not just for their good eating but also for their numerous healthy attributes, being rich in protein, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Whole herrings can be poached, fried or grilled, or pickled, soused, marinated, salted and smoked (such as our Crouch End kippers from our smokehouse behind the shop). These oily fish are available year round and were once a staple part of the British diet.

Herring is a considered to be resilient species and a good choice for sustainable eating. The fish are caught using fishing methods that are relatively selective or ‘clean’ in terms of by-catch and damage to the seabed.

Preparation time will be about 30 minutes (plus the marinating)

Ingredients For Herrings In Lemon

Two herring fillets (minimum) per person from Walter Purkis & Sons
6 lemons. (Try and find Amalfi or Sicilian varieties for an extra authentic Italian flavour)
Two shallots finely sliced
Sea salt and crushed black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
Handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
200ml olive oil

Cooking Method For Herrings in Lemon

Cut the fish fillets into three pieces. Arrange with the bay leaves and shallots in a single layer in a large shallow dish and then squeeze the juice of 5 of the lemons over the top.

Season then cover loosely with cling film, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 hours.

Remove the fish from the marinade and transfer to a serving dish. Pour over the olive oil and garnish with the chopped parsley.

Thinly slice the remaining lemon and arrange the slices on individual plates or in a serving dish with the cured fillets.  Serve as a starter with fresh bread and butter.