Herring is a delicious, healthy affordable oily fish, packed with nutrients.

As well as being a great source of protein, it is a high source omega 3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, selenium, B vitamins and vitamin E. A single fish gives around 75% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D.

Lime cooked herring mixed with avocado, cherry tomato, radish and herbs

Herring Ceviche

Serves 2 as a starter or snack

Ceviche is a South American method of ‘cooking’ fish in lime juice. It works well with any firm fleshed fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, sole, plaice, scallops etc.

1 herring fillet

Juice of 2 limes

½ red chilli – finely sliced

1 spring onion – finely sliced

2 cherry tomatoes – cut into quarters

½ medium avocado – diced

Small bunch of coriander – roughly chopped

Mixed leaves to serve & new potatoes or crusty bread to serve.

  1. Cut the fish into bite size pieces and marinate in the lime juice for 20 to 30 mins. It will turn opaque and be easy to tear apart.
  2. Mix the chilli, tomatoes, spring onion, avocado & coriander together.
  3. Drain the lime juice from the herring and mix through the avocado mixture.
  4. Serve on a bed of salad, with hot new potatoes or bread on the side.
Herring fillets coated in oatmeal & fried to golden brown

Herring in Oatmeal

Serves 4

Oatmeal is a traditional Scottish ingredient used for all sorts of dishes from porridge in the morning to the coating on fish. It gives a toasted nutty flavour when fried & helps disguise any tiny lateral bones. Be careful not to burn oatmeal as once it’s passed the golden stage, it becomes quite bitter.

4 to 6 herring fillets

½ mugful medium oatmeal

1 egg

Salt & pepper

25g butter

50ml oil

  1. Put the oatmeal onto a dinner plate, season well with salt & pepper. Mix well & shake the plate a little to level the oatmeal.
  2. Break the egg into a dish and whisk with a fork to break it up.
  3. Pat the herring dry with kitchen paper, dip each fillet in to the egg, then roll in the oatmeal.
  4. Heat half the oil and butter in a heavy based pan over a medium heat, when the butter starts to foam, add enough of the herring fillets, skin side down to cover the base. Fry gently for approx. 2 mins each side.
  5. Remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper & keep warm while you finish frying the remaining fish.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges and either salad or vegetables.
Fried herring stuffed with onion and dill, wrapped in proscuitto

Kilted Herring

Serves 4

This is a delicious way to serve herring, the Prosciutto gives a crisp savoury edge without overpowering the delicate fish.

4 herring fillets

1 small onion – finely sliced

2 tbsp roughly chopped dill

8 slices prosciutto

15g butter

Oil for frying

  1. Heat the butter in a heavy based frying pan on a medium heat. Add the sliced onion and fry gently to soften without browning. Remove to a dish, allow to cool and add the dill, season with salt & pepper.
  2. Lay the fish skin side down, divide the onion mixture down the centre of each fish, then fold each fillet in half to make it fish-shaped again.
  3. Roll the prosciutto around the fish to hold everything together.
  4. Re-heat the frying pan to medium, add a little oil and fry the fish for 2 to 3 mins each side.
  5. Serve with new potatoes and salad or vegetables.
a dish of rollmop herring served on a bed of leaves with lemon wedges

Soused Herring

Serves 6 as a starter or 3 as a main course

There are many recipes for soused herring, some are very plain, just using onion & peppercorns to flavour, others have a few more spices. The earlier recipes use distilled vinegar, which is quite strong. I’ve used cider vinegar in my recipe because it has a milder flavour.

3 herring fillets

½ small onion – thinly sliced

100ml cider vinegar

100ml water

Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

3 cloves

3 juniper berries

1 lg or 2sm bay leaves

6 peppercorns

1 tsp soft brown sugar

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4
  2. Cut the herring fillets in half lengthwise & cut out the dorsal fin.
  3. With the flesh side up, season the fish with a little salt & pepper, sprinkle over some of the onion slices & starting from the tail end, roll up tightly. Secure with a cocktail stick and place in a snug fitting, oven proof dish.
  4. Put the spices, sugar, vinegar & water into a small pan and bring slowly to the boil, then pour immediately over the fish. Cover with foil or a lid and bake in the oven for 20 mins.
  5. Remove from the oven, cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to infuse before eating.