Now that our herring have been processed, it’s time to hit the kitchen and turn these trashy little nomads into rock stars! Now, because of herring’s unfortunate reputation for greasy, mealy, unpleasantness, I’m going to cook them simply, keep the flavours fresh and surround them with friends that will complement them. Nothing like a posse to give you confidence. Now, let’s smash some stereotypes!
In many culinary traditions herring is served as a brunch snack, usually salted, fried or smoked with a hot or cold potato salad, various pickled veg and eggs. Classic, nice! Instead of preserving, I’ll fry these wriggling- fresh herring crispy with a bit of butter (almost a la meuniere) and give them a back-up band of roasted spuds and a quick and dirty tartar sauce. This is the kind of simple meal that can be fired off early in the morning (or late at night) with lots of time to spare for carousing. “Brunch” means drinking time, yes?
Serve with a handful of fresh watercress, a poached egg, and a nice, crisp lager.
Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Cabbage(Serves 2)
- 1 lb. Nugget Potatoes (about 450g, cleaned and halved)
- 1 tbls. Olive Oil (30ml)
- 3 Rashers of Bacon (85g, chopped)
- 1 tsp. Dill Seeds
- ½ Medium White Onion (about 75g, sliced)
- ½ cup Cabbage (70g, chiffonade)
- Dash of Smoked Paprika
Method (pre-heat your oven to 400˚F- 204˚C)
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in a couple pinches of salt and toss in your potatoes. Turn the heat down just a bit and simmer the spuds for about 10 minutes. You want them tender enough to slip a knife through, but not so cooked as to fall apart. Drain them in a large colander, and give them a toss about (did you just pick up the Jamie Oliver in that?) this makes ‘em fluffy and craggy (essential things to be when you’re about to go into an oven!)
- Dump the potatoes into a roasting pan with a couple splashes of olive oil and fire it into the oven for 20 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until crispy (takes about 4 minutes). Lift the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and let them drain on a piece of paper towel, don’t pour out the remaining bacon fat… Never pour out bacon fat. Toss in the dill seeds and heat the pan back up on medium heat. After about 2 minutes the seeds will begin to sizzle and pop. Toss in the onion and cabbage and sauté them until soft (about 3 mins).
- Check your potatoes, after 20 mins. they should be looking deeply golden brown. Add the bacon, seeds, cabbage and onions to the roasting pan, mix them all with a gentle stir and pop them back into the oven for a final 10 minutes. Serve hot with a dash of smoked paprika.
Pan-Fried Herring(Serves 2)
- 4 – 1oz. Herring Fillets (Cleaned and de-boned, each around 30-40g)
- Salt and Pepper
- ¼ cup All Purpose Flour (32g)
- 1 tbls. Olive Oil (15ml)
- 1 ½ tbls. Butter (20g)
- Using a sharp knife, slash the skin side of each herring fillet 3 or 4 times. Not deep cuts, just enough to open the skin a bit. This will prevent the fillets from curling during the cooking process. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Dredge the fillets in flour, and give ‘em a pat to get any excess off. A nice light coating is all we’re ‘gonna need. Fire up the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over high heat. Once the butter has melted and finished frothing, place the fillets flesh-side down into the pan. It’s only going to take 1 ½ minutes for the flesh to get nicely browned and perfectly crispy, so get ready Freddy. Spatula in hand, flip the fillets over and cook 1 minute more.
- Set up a wire rack over a bowl or a plate with some paper towel and lay the fried herring on it to drain for a minute before serving. Serve with roasted potatoes and tartar sauce.
Quick ‘n Dilly Tartar Sauce (Still serving 2)
- 3 tbls. Mayonnaise(45ml)
- 1 tbls. Sweet Pickle Relish (30ml)
- The juice of ½ Lemon (about 30ml)
- 2 tsp. Fresh Dill (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp. Black Pepper
Mix all ingredients together, adjust the seasoning and dollop some on your plate, it’s just that simple. Garnish with fronds of fresh dill.
Music To Cook This To:
Sigur Ros – Meo Suo I Eyrum Vio Spilum End