Monday, 23 November 2009

Roll Mop Herrings

It's the herring season in Aldeburgh at the moment and whilst the 'Silver Darlings' taste great just grilled and eaten with toast and scrambled eggs it's a shame not to buy them in bulk once you've had your fill (5 lb for £5 from Dean Fryer on the beach) and preserve them.  Turning them into rollmops is a cheap, delicious, easy way of doing this.
The fillets need to be brined in  salty water for 3 hours.  Meanwhile, boil up some cider vinegar with bayleaves, allspice berries, finely chopped onion, a tablespoon of sugar, peppercorns and a little orange peel. Allow this to cool then jar up the herring fillets in the pickle. 

The recipe's in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's "Fish" tome.  He says the jars need to be sterilised but if you're eating the fish within days this is not essential.

The vinegar solution seems to dissolve the pinbones which saves a lot on labour trying to pick them out.  Curious because the pinbones when eating kippers are so much more noticeable... and irritating.
  The fish is a bit of a challenge for wine except maybe a young Sauvignon.  An alternative could be some kind of schnapps or aquavit. The problem is the vinegar. 
Or perhaps no booze is needed at all.  The fish is really soft and the onions crunchy and aromatic.  Bread is the thing or maybe a few waxy potatoes cooked in their skins.


  1. I need to know how they turned out..... I suspect it might be the industrialness(?) of the vinegar and sugar content that has me shopping for them in the first place, love them as I do.
    Ever tried peanut butter and salad cream sandwiches (white bread)?

  2. I love marinated herrings, especially the Swedish type you can buy from (whisper) Ikea. I must try it at home myself.

  3. Oooh they look good. No good place to buy inexpensive fish in my neck of the woods, but would try this if there were...

  4. Hello Abi, Claire and Patrick. Lovely to see all three of you enjoying a meal together. You've almost won round to roll mops, although I thought Old Spice was what I used to rub on my cheeks. I look forward to the grouse and when are you going to show me how to prepare spag bol? (Emily keeps asking!). Love to you all. Dad

  5. Spag bol will come after my trip to Bologna so might not be quite to Emily's liking