Pickled herrings, red onion, orange and tarragon dressing

Pickled herrings, red onion, orange and tarragon dressing

By
From
Everyday Seafood
Serves
4 as a starter

We go herring mad when they come into season in Cornwall and prepare them in all sorts of ways. Pickling is one of my favourite treatments and this recipe is incredibly simple. Just make sure your herring are top quality and really fresh. Feel free to change the flavourings, if you like, and don’t worry about the small bones – they disintegrate in the pickling mix.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
8 very fresh herring, gutted, scaled and filleted
3 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
500ml white wine vinegar
200g caster sugar
3 oranges
200ml Orange oil
2 red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons tarragon leaves, chopped
sea salt

Method

  1. Lay the herring fillets side by side in a dish that is big enough to hold them snugly covered by the pickling liquor.
  2. Put the shallots, garlic, chilli flakes, fennel seeds and bay leaves into a pan. Add the wine vinegar, sugar and the finely grated zest of one of the oranges. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes, then add 4 tsp salt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Once cooled, pour the pickling mix over the herring fillets and cover with cling film, pushing it down onto the surface to keep the fish submerged. Place in the fridge and leave for 24 hours before eating.
  4. Take the fish out of the fridge at least an hour before serving to bring it back to room temperature. Cut the peel and pith from all 3 oranges and cut out the segments from between the membranes.
  5. For the dressing, measure 50 ml of the pickling liquor and mix it with the orange oil, orange segments, red onion slices and chopped tarragon. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Lay the herring fillets on a large platter and spoon over the orange, red onion and tarragon dressing. Serve with sourdough and salted butter.
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