On the fishmonger slab was a display of bright, shiny herring, gleaming and mouth-watering.

For me, these are an ‘impulse’ buy. If I see them spanking fresh, I can’t resist. They are very easy and fast to roast or grill, or, if I want to preserve them, marinating them with lemon juice and seasoning transform them into a wonderful treat.

We are I suspect, not eating as many herring as we should. Not just that they are seasonal, local, and very rich in all the ‘ omega- s ‘ and vitamins that keep us healthy, but that we are afraid of small bones or even a smell in the kitchen when we cook.

Don’t be.



2-3 butterfly filleted herrings per person

Sea salt

Black pepper

Unwaxed lemon, rind, and juice

Olive Oil


Finely chopped herbs; flat leaf parsley, fennel fronds or chervil

Pre-heat Grill or Oven 190 C / Gas 5

Check herring for any remaining bones. There are a lot of very fine bones in the spine, but these are easy to manoeuvre as you eat.

Wash the fish in cold water and pat dry.

Score the skin with a sharp knife.

Lay on a baking tray, skin side up, equally spaced.

Season with sea salt and black pepper and grate over the lemon rind.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Place under the grill or on the top shelf of the oven for 10 minutes or so until the skin is golden and crispy, and the flesh is lightly cooked.

Dress with chopped herbs and lemon juice.

I love to eat these with warm boiled new potatoes.

Scrub 500g new potatoes, Pink Fir or Charlotte, and boil until cooked.

Chop while warm and dress with 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 spring onions or chives, chopped, chopped flat leaf parsley and black pepper.



8 -10 fresh herring or 500g fresh anchovies o

Sea salt

2 pinches crushed dried chilli flakes

Juice of 2 lemons

Extra virgin olive oil

2 handfuls flat leaf parsley finely chopped


Ask the fishmonger to gut, scale and butterfly the fish.

Wash them in cold water and dry on kitchen paper.

Lay the fillets skin side down on a flat platter in a single layer.

Sprinkle with the sea salt and dried chilli.

Pour over the lemon juice; this cooks the fish as it marinates.

Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

Cover and refrigerate and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Dress with chopped parsley.

Serve with a crisp Cos lettuce salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.