Rigby’s Encyclopaedia of the Herring

aka The Herripedia


A curious case of a three version booklet by two different cooks, promoting the herring with some very 1930s recipes


After the First World War the shortage of hard currency in German (as a result of the Treaty of Versailles) and the Soviet Union (as a result of economic blockade) led to the collapse of the two major markets for British herring.

The Herring Industry Board, established in 1935, set about the task of building the home market by issuing a recipe booklet that would encourage people to look again at the fish’s virtues

The degree of encouragement suggests Britain was already moving away from the herring and its perceived inconveniences, but the HIB rose to the occasion. Between 1935 and 1937 the recipe booklet was published in three differently-named versions by two different writers. All three have 32 pages and share mostly the same photographs, illustrations and recipes. Mrs Stanley Wrench uses the more dramatic photograph of Star Gazing Pie with the heads sticking through the crust, but although she describes it, she gives the recipe instead for the headless Devil’s Dream, which is the same as Mrs Arthur Webb’s Herring Pie.

Mrs Stanley Wrench (Mollie) was a novelist and the author of Burnt Wings on which the 1916 silent film drama of the same name was based. The Herring Book (1936), offers her own article Herrings for Value and Herrings for Health ‘by a Medical Man’.

She breaks her recipes into Simple Ways with Fresh Herring, Herrings for Breakfast, Herrings for Dinner, Herrings for Tea, Herrings for Supper, Herrings for Invalids and Babies and Herrings in Variety.

Mrs Arthur Webb (Mabel), ‘the well-known B.B.C. Cookery Expert’ had been a suffragette as a young woman and was a regular contributor to the BBC’s Woman’s Hour. Her first version, possibly published in 1935 was Herring Cookery. Her second, The New Herring Book, was published in 1937.

Both are broadly the same, offering short pieces on King Herring – Nature’s Health FoodThe Fish That Has Made History and Hints That May Help before a host of recipes broken down initially by cooking method.

The New Herring Book carries a front cover testimony from Merle Oberon, Aren’t Herrings delicious? Early Health and Safety considerations may explain the dropping of instructions for frying in salt, which involve heating until the pan is almost red hot. Strangely, it also drops the major coup of Webb’s Herring Cookery:

By gracious permission of Their Majesties, we are enabled to publish this recipe used by the Chef at Buckingham Palace.
Split open herrings and remove the roe. Then take out the bone and dry well after washing. Arrange roe on the herrings down the centre. Pass through flour and dip in beaten egg and pass through breadcrumbs. Fry in hot fat till crisp and golden brown. For the sauce, make a little bechamel. Flavour with a little mixed mustard that has been made with vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the sauce separately.

All three editions may ultimately have failed to bring Britain’s housewives back to herring, but with a remarkably limited range of ingredients they conjure up a rich sense of domestic British cookery at the time. The following is taken from Mabel Webb.

I: Hints That May Help

Sometimes people say to me, ‘Yes, I would serve herrings more often if it wasn’t for their bones.’ But there is really no difficulty about boning a herring. Sometimes the fishmonger will undertake the work but if he’s busy, well, it’s quite easy to scale and bone the fish yourself if you go the right way to work. It’s just a knack which comes with practice. You may find you have the knack straight away, in which case if you have the time you’ll enjoy doing the herrings yourself.

How to Scale

Have a bowl of cold water, and wet a handy little kitchen knife. Start from the tail end to push the blade against the scales, lifting them away from the fish until the head is reached; then do the other side. Hold the herring firmly during the process and when done rinse in cold water.

How to Bone

Method 1. – If you have a sharp knife, cut off head and tail and scale the fish. Be especially careful to remove all scales along the backbone. Now make a shallow cut along the backbone, beginning at the head end. With finger and thumb open the fish and lift up the bone with the knife. After a little practice you will be able to remove most of the small bones with the backbone.

Method 2. – If you do not possess a sharp knife, use a pair of kitchen scissors. Cut off the head and tail and cut open along the belly. Open out the fish, lay inside down on a board and press along the backbone with your thumb. This loosens the bone. Turn the fish over and lift out the bone. Here again, you will find the small bones come away too, if you are careful.

It’s a proud moment when you can handle and prepare herrings like a professional, because then you can be quite independent, and with the fillets you can ring the changes on all sorts of delicious dishes.

When the roes are removed, handle them as little as possible. Put them on a plate, dividing the hard from the soft. They can be cooked and served with the herrings, or, if you prefer, will make a dish by themselves.

Again, some people complain of the smell when cooking herrings. But it’s quite easy to minimise that. Try baking them in the oven in a covered dish and you will find there’s no smell at all. If it’s not oven day with you, put the herrings into a buttered casserole and cook them on the top of the stove, or over a very low gas jet. Even cheap casseroles, costing less than 1s. each, if gradually heated through, are soon accustomed to this kind of use, and if you keep the lid on, there is practically no smell.

What about the pan, the knives and forks? Just make a practice of wiping them first with a twist of soft paper, then running them through cold water. You know, don’t you, that hot water ‘sets’ the smell? If you pour cold water into the frying pan, and slip in a lump of soda and let the water come to the boil, the last trace of fish cooking will disappear.

If a little mustard is put in the washing up water for fishy dishes, the smell is lessened at once, and all taste of fish disappears. Mustard will also take away any smell of fish from your hands.

Get into the habit of saving soft clean tissue paper, for if you fold it into a wrinkled pad it is just right for laying fried fish on to drain for a moment.

Keep a pair of clean scissors hanging in your kitchen for trimming off heads, tails and fins or cutting the fish. If the blades get tired, take a bottle with a small neck and make a few vicious stabs at it with the scissors as if you were intending to cut the bottle neck in two. The blades will be sharp again in a minute.

II: Fried Herrings

‘Dry’ Frying

In this method only a very small amount of fat is put in the pan or, in the case of fine oily fish, no fat at all. Two teaspoons of dripping or lard will be sufficient for ‘dry’ frying three or even four medium sized herrings. Butter evaporates more quickly and has a tendency to darken if much heat is applied and margarine sometimes fails to agree with the herring flavour. However, each cook to her taste.

Slashed Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 6 herrings, 2 tablespoonsful flour, salt, pepper, 3 tablespoonsful milk, 5 tomatoes, a very little frying fat.
METHOD: Scale, wash and clean the fish. Dry them, place on board and make three cuts on each side. Dip each fish in the flour seasoned with pepper and salt, then draw it through the milk which may be put in a saucer. Drain for a moment (just hold the fish by the tail for the moisture to run off), dust again with flour. Have the fat very hot in the frying pan. Put in the herrings and a few minutes later the tomatoes halved. Let all cook, both sides. The herrings should be golden brown and crisp. Season and serve. Let everything that accompanies fried herring to table be as hot as possible. Sauces of many kinds are excellent, and though a trifle more trouble to prepare perhaps, they add to the nourishment and attractiveness of the dish. So select one or other from page 28 [see later] but see that it is hot.

INGREDIENTS: 4 medium-sized fish, 2 tablespoonful fine oatmeal, 1 tablespoonful flour, ½ teaspoonful salt; ½ lemon sliced, a very little cooking fat.
METHOD: Prepare the herrings, then remove reads, tails and fins, slit open down centre backs, clean and take away bones. Wipe with damp cloth. Have the flour, fine oatmeal and salt shaken together in paper. Coat each herring with the dry mixture, put skin downwards in the hot fat and cook for five minutes. Turn the fish carefully with a slice and fry the other side a golden brown. Serve on hot plates with thin slices of lemon.

Scotland knows how to get the very best out of her wonderful oats and the Scottish housewife believes in re-crisping the oatmeal she takes from her store. A few minutes in the oven or by the fire is enough, and oatmeal so treated has none of that “tired soured taste” that it gets if kept a week or two in the ordinary store cupboard.

Herrings Fried in Deep Fat

INGREDIENTS: 6 herrings, 1 egg, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, a little flour and salt, fat.
METHOD: Prepare as for dry frying but remove roes (they will make another dish or if liked may be treated the same as the herrings – that is coated and fried with them). Wash and dry the fish, dust with flour slightly salted. Dip first in well beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs. See that the pan is ready with the fat in it smoking hot and deep enough to cover the fish. Put one herring in and then when the fat has recovered from the slight chilling, put in a second fish. Keep the fat very hot and allow eight to ten minutes to cook the herrings. Lift out with a slice, draining the surplus fat back into the pan. Then place each herring on paper and transfer later to hot dish or plate.

Carrots and parsnips cut in slices and coated with flour will fry a nice brown and be tasty items to vary the meal.

Herrings in Batter

Make a batter with a breakfastcupful of milk, two tablespoonsful of plain flour, ½ teaspoonful of salt and an egg. Beat the egg before adding to the milk and seasoned flour. Beat the batter free from lumps before using it to coat the herrings, prepared as for the previous recipe.

Roll the prepared herrings in flour before covering them all over with the batter. Fry in deep fat, garnish with parsley and tiny mounds of finely shredded horse-radish. Or serve with lemon slices.

III: Baked Herrings

Baked Herrings

This is one of the simplest and most delicious of all methods of cooking herrings and is not so well known as it deserves to be. To be able to serve fish straight away in the dish in which it has been cooked has three advantages at least: –

a) The fish is nice and hot.
b) All the goodness is conserved.
c) The time and labour of the housewife is lessened.

Personally, I am all for the fireproof dish, with or without a cover, something sufficiently robust to stand the heat and wear and tear of use in the oven or on top of the stove, and comely enough to place on the dining table. Let’s suppose that one of these useful baking dishes is available ready for –

Baked Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 6 large herrings, 2 teaspoonsful butter, pepper, salt.
METHOD: After cleaning the herrings remove heads and split the fish open. Wipe with wet cloth, then spread underside with a little butter seasoned with pepper and salt. Close the fish and lay them in the greased fireproof dish made hot to receive them. Tuck down over them two pieces of buttered greaseproof paper. Bake in a moderate oven for a quarter of an hour. Then remove the paper and leave the fish in the oven for another five minutes to brown. Serve straight away.

As the oven is being utilised for this dish, potatoes peeled and placed in a small dripping pan can go into the oven a little beforehand and then be ready to serve with the herrings. Baked tomatoes, halved and seasoned will also be welcomed. A spoonful of chutney with each portion will enhance the flavour of the dish.

If children are to share in a meal of baked herrings, a few drops of lemon juice on the fish and a little extra butter in the potatoes will make for easy digestion. Menfolk will reach for the sauce-bottle or prefer the spicier chutney.

When young spring onions are in season, half a dozen of the small white bulbs may be chopped and baked with the herrings as a savoury addition to this dish.

At all seasons of the year, thanks to newer methods of cultivation, mushrooms are on sale. If mushrooms, after being washed and peeled are cut into slices and simmered in a very small amount of milk and water with a pinch of cayenne pepper and of salt, they will be ready in a few minutes and will look much more for the money than if left whole. They are delicious if put in with the herrings for the last ten minutes baking.

Baked Herring Fillets

Fillets of nice sizeable herrings, coated with seasoned flour, may be rolled up and packed closely into a pie-dish or casserole with a shaving of butter or beef dripping placed on top of each roll. Add a few peppercorns and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bake for 15 minutes.

Herrings are tasty items when baked plain, but stuffed they are altogether superior, and there’s nothing difficult about the filling, either.

Baked Stuffed Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 4 herrings, ½ cup breadcrumbs, 1 level tablespoonful shredded suet, 1 teaspoonful chopped parsley, 1 saltspoonful pepper and salt mixed, 1 small onion, milk to mix.
METHOD: Prepare the herrings, split open, removing heads and backbone. To make the filling, chop the onion very small and add breadcrumbs, parsley, suet and a little seasoning. Bind with one or two tablespoonful of milk (or if preferred a beaten egg). Mix well. Then sprinkle the underside of each herring with pepper and salt and spread on a portion of forcemeat. Roll up at once and keep in place firmly by tying with coarse white cotton or piercing with a small wooden skewer. To cook – grease a dish with butter or a little beef dripping. Place the herrings in carefully. Add a shaving of fat to each. Cover with a lid or greaseproof paper. Bake for 20 minutes.

There are other ways with stuffed herrings, baked and savoury; they can be served cold with cucumber, beetroot, lettuce, radishes, pickles or chutney. You’ll appreciate them with the simplest or most elaborate salad, or even with just plain bread and butter they will provide a cooling meal for a summer day.

There are also various stuffings that will even add to the “flavoursomeness” of herrings. I think you will enjoy newly crisped oatmeal mixed with parboiled onion, chopped very small, seasoned with black pepper and salt, and if you like, with a heaped teaspoonful of parsley added. Brown breadcrumbs, blended with tomato pulp, salt, pepper and nutmeg, is another mixture you’ll have more than once.

While on the subject of baking, I want you to remember that the oven or stove top is capable of cooking herrings which will serve as a great standby on washing day or when spring cleaning demands labour and devotion. Again, why not cook them on Saturday and serve them with salad for Sunday’s supper?

It is easy to see how a healthy person can find herrings a cheap yet nutricious food, but when thinking of them for invalids, how many know their value? In any form of deficiency diseases, in cases of anaemia or in certain forms of goitre, herring dishes are of great use. Often when a patient is convalescing a tempting little dish can be prepared with a small portion of herring.

Try this for an invalid:

Baked Herrings with Egg

INGREDIENTS: ½ herring per person, ½ yolk of an egg, 1 gill milk, 1 teaspoonful parsley.
METHOD: Scale, clean, behead, bone and fillet the herring. Roll up each fillet, keeping the roes for another dish. Lightly dust with salt and pepper. Set the fillet in a buttered fireproof dish. Beat up the egg with the milk and pour around. Bake in a moderate oven till the custard is set. Sift the minced parsley over before serving.

IV: Boiled and Steamed Herrings

Boiled or steamed herrings are especially good for people with poor digestion. The fish, after being prepared, may be cooked in a fish kettle, from which it is of course very convenient to lift them when done. However, fish kettles are not always available, but if you have a large saucepan you can put the grid from your griller on it and this will serve quite well. Another useful tip is to wrap the herrings in greaseproof paper or tie each one in a piece of butter muslin. They can then be easily lifted out of your pan without damage to the fish.

Boiled Herrings

For every herring allow a teaspoonful of vinegar, and ½ a teaspoonful salt. Water to cover. Mustard or parsley sauce.

Clean and scale the fish, behead, but do not bone them. Add the salt and vinegar to the water and bring to the boil. Now put in the herrings, bring to the boil again, then reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, according to the size of the fish. Lift out, drain on a clean cloth and arrange on a hot dish.

Cold Boiled Herrings

Boiled herrings are very good eaten cold, so that when you cook them for the children’s mid-day meal, do sufficient to provide a cold supper dish. Put the herrings in a shallow dish, pour over them a little lemon juice or vinegar. Send salad to table with the fish. Sliced tomatoes, diced beetroot, or halves of hard-boiled eggs in green salad will be suitable.

Herrings Cooked Like Whiting

If, instead of beheading the herrings for boiling, you leave the heads on but remove the eyes, and then bend the tails round and push them through the eye sockets or fasten them with a tiny skewer, they can be cooked whiting fashion. For this purpose you will find butter muslin excellent for enfolding the fish in the saucepan. A yard or two of butter muslin cut into the most useful sizes and kept especially for holding the fish while boiling, and for wiping and drying fish during preparation for cooking will be of real service. After use soak the muslin pieces in cold water, then wash in the ordinary way, rinse and hang in open air to dry. They will serve you for months.

Steamed Herring

If you have one of those most useful of cookery utensils, a three or four tier steamer, you can use one or more of the compartments for steaming herrings.

Prepare them in either of the ways suggested for boiling. Wrap them in greaseproof paper, first seasoning them with pepper and salt. Quite good sized herrings will take 20 to 25 minutes to steam in their paper jackets.

Potatoes and sauce may cook in the other compartments of the steam cooker at the same time. I often make sauce in a basin, slip a saucer on top and let it cook the time necessary in one section of the steamer, in the other compartments of which I have fish, vegetables and pudding. Thus one gas ring only is needed for a complete dinner.

Failing a steamer a simple substitute may be found in a colander over a saucepan of boiling water with a saucepan lid as a cover for the herrings. Or butter a soup plate, lay in the fish, season and cover with a second plate. Cook over a pan of boiling water for 20 mins.

V: Grilled Herrings

Grilled herrings commend themselves as something easy to prepare, quick to cook and appetising when served.

Grilled Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 2 herrings, a small piece of butter, parsley, mustard sauce.
METHOD: Scale and clean the fish, then wipe with a clean cloth. Upon each side of the herring make three cuts 1 ½ inches apart, cutting down to, not through, the backbone. Remove the heads. Now just brush each with a little butter, as the herring contains its own cooking fat. Grill quickly under a very hot grill till brown on each side. Dust lightly with salt, garnish with parsley, and serve with mustard sauce.

Grilled Herrings with Tomatoes

INGREDIENTS: 1 herring and 1 tomato per person, a little butter, parsley, salt and pepper.
METHOD: Cut the tomatoes in halves and fry in a little butter, taking care not to break them. Grill the fish as before. Serve surrounded by the tomatoes.

If you prefer you can grill the tomatoes at the same time as the herrings. Put a bit of butter on each tomato to prevent the skin burning. Turn when ready to cook on underside.

Grilled Herrings with Lemon Juice

INGREDIENTS: 1 herring per person, a little butter and lemon juice.
METHOD: Skewer the heads and tails together. Grill as before. Add the lemon juice and serve. I want you to look at the illustration and see the neat little wooden skewers that make herrings bite their tails.

Grilled Herrings with Parsnips

INGREDIENTS: 1 herring per person, a few boiled parsnips, a few breadcrumbs, a little beaten egg, fat for frying, salt and pepper, parsley.
METHOD: Cut the parsnips lengthwise in quarters, egg and breadcrumb them, fry a golden brown. Grill the herrings as before, serve with the parsnips; you have no idea how good the combinations of flavours can be.

Speldered Herrings

This is a Northumbrian method, and is really only another way of grilling fresh herrings.

INGREDIENTS: 2 or more fresh herrings, teaspoonful of lemon juice, dash of cayenne, a tiny nut of beef dripping for each herring.
METHOD: Scale and clean the fish, remove the heads and tails and backbone. Lay then on a dish, dust with cayenne, squeeze lemon juice over, put a nut of dripping on each one, then grill over a hot fire. Serve with cut lemon. Very delicious!

What will you do with the roes in such a case? These make delicious savouries, but if you prefer, fry the roes in butter or good dripping, then garner the speldered herrings with them.

When grilling herrings with roes it is worth while to take out the roes, season each with a little black pepper, salt and a dash of nutmeg, then replace in the herring. If the herrings have been split and boned the roes are easily put back.

Broiled Herrings

Broiling, which is cooking in front or on top of a clear fire, is a rather slower process than grilling but need only take three or four minutes longer. The broiling pan with its deep sides, as still used on the East Coast, is a most convenient utensil in which to cook herrings. It is essential, of course, to have a clear, hot fire, and the bars of the grate free from coal dust or cinder ash.

The herrings need not be cut on the sides. They are all the better for basting once or twice during the cooking with the fat which runs to the bottom of the broiling pan.

In many places the little Dutch oven with its row of hooks conveniently arranged to suspend the fish while broiling is very popular. In front of clear fire it is a most desirable cooker, and has one great advantage over any other form – it allows both sides of the herrings to be nicely browned without disturbing the fish.

Broiled herrings taste particularly good with horse-radish sauce.

VI: The Tasty Kipper

When you fancy ‘something tasty’ for breakfast, tea or supper, you can’t do better than serve kippers. They’re as nourishing as they’re delicious! And there’s another good thing about them. They need only a very short time to cook. You’ll probably like bread or toast with them. Don’t cut the pieces too thin. Butter them if you like, but take my advice and lay the buttered toast ort buttered bread in the pan beneath the grill while the kippers are grilling. In five or six minutes they’ll be ready – and so will you.

Grilled Kippers

INGREDIENTS: A slice of buttered toast and a nut of butter for each kipper, a dash of pepper, and a little lemon juice.
METHOD: Make the toast, butter it and shave off the crusty edges, then lay in the grilling pan. Wipe each kipper with a damp cloth and behead. Heat the grill and put the kippers on the hot grid, skin side uppermost, and grill for a minute. Turn them, and on the fleshy sides lay the nuts of butter. Cook 5-6 minutes. Serve a kipper on each slice of toast, sprinkle a niny pinch of pepper and, if liked, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Fried Kippers

INGREDIENTS: 1 slice of toast for each kipper; fat for frying.
METHOD: Remove the heads. Lay the kippers in a bowl, pour hot water over, then take out and wipe with a cloth. Heat the fat in the frying-pan till a light blue smoke rises, then put in the kippers, fleshy side downwards, taking care they do not overlap. Cook for 5 mins., then turn them to the skin side, and leave for 3 minutes longer. Lift each one out with a slice, and lay on the toast. Serve piping hot. Instead of serving with toast they can be served with fried tomatoes, or with tomato sauce. Some people say mustard sauce goes excellently with kippers, too, as with herrings. And why not? For a kipper is really a herring split open, its roe extracted, cleaned, dipped in brine, and smoked in a special way over oakwood chips.

Baked Kippers

Lay kippers in a greased casserole or baking tin and cover with lid of greaseproof paper. Bake in a moderate oven for 10 minutes. Serve very hot. No smell this way!

Poached Kippers

When cooking kippers for children try poaching them as the meat comes away so easily from the bones when cooked like this:-

Cut off heads, put fish in frying pan with just enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, simmer for a few minutes. Drain well, serve with nut of butter on each.

INGREDIENTS: For each kipper allow 1 egg and 2 tablespoon of milk, a little butter and pepper.
METHOD: Place the kippers in your frying pan, cover with water, bring to the boil very slowly and simmer for five minutes. Remove flesh from the bones and break up with a fork.

Beat the eggs and milk together, add the kipper and pepper. Melt the butter in a saucepan, pour in the mixture, stir until it thickens. Serve on rounds of buttered toast.

In the North I have had scrambled kipper mixed with finely chopped parsley, and found it very good. About ½ teaspoonful of parsley allowed per serving.

Kipper Toast

INGREDIENTS: 1 kipper and 1 slice of buttered toast per person, a dash of pepper and a pat of butter.
METHOD: Wipe the kipper, remove skin and bone, and behead. Cook either by grilling or parboiling, then flake up the meat. Spread the flaked kipper over the toast and set for a minute beneath the grill. Serve with a pat of butter on top.

Or, instead, clean and cook the kipper and flake the meat up, then mix with butter, enough to make it easy to spread. Toast some slices of bread, do not butter them, but lay the kipper butter thickly over, put a pat of butter on top, and set the slices beneath the grill. This makes an excellent ‘snack,’ as well as a simple dish for tea.

VII: Bloaters – A National Delicacy

Connoisseurs of good fare will tell you that the Yarmouth bloater deserves a place of high honour as a real national delicacy. Like the kipper it is exceedingly easy to prepare and quick to cook.

The bloater is an unsplit herring, slightly salted and lightly smoked. The name comes from ‘blota,’ a Swedish word meaning to steep or soak.

The process is an old one. It was certainly used in the 17th century, as there is a passage in Beaumont and Fletcher which runs: ‘I have more smoke in my mouth than would blote a hundred herrings.’

Grilled Bloaters

INGREDIENTS: As many bloaters as required, a little butter or dripping for frying the roes.
METHOD: Break off the heads, split open the backs and remove roes and backbone. Toss the roes in a little hot butter or dripping in a saucepan until golden brown. Make your grill hot, grease the grid in the grill pan, and place your fish on it, the insides to the heat. When browned, turn over and grill the backs. Serve very hot with the roes. Years ago, hot vinegar was always sprinkled over grilled bloaters at the moment of serving and sometimes it was vinegar strained from the pickle jar, very spicy and inclined to burn the tongue.

Filleted Bloaters On Toast

INGREDIENTS: 1 bloater per person. A little lemon juice, pepper. Rounds of buttered toast.
METHOD: Split the bloaters open and take the flesh from the bones in long fillets. Place on a greased baking tin or fireproof dish, squeeze the lemon juice over and season with pepper. Cover with greaseproof paper or lid and bake in a brisk oven for about 8 minutes. Serve on buttered toast.

Sometimes grill a few more bloater fillets than are required for your meal. While still very hot lay them between slices of bread and butter. Leave to get cold, then pack as lunch bag sandwiches. Cold grilled fillets are also a good summer snack with spring onions or fresh tomatoes sliced, or they make a welcome addition to the cold luncheon if served in mixed salad.

Bloater or Herring Paste

INGREDIENTS: 1 ½ lbs. bloaters or red herrings (weighed after cleaning), ½ lb. fresh butter, 1 teaspoonful of anchovy essence, pepper and salt..
METHOD: Clean the herrings and cook in boiling water for about 20 minutes, changing the water if necessary. Remove bones and skin and mince the flesh finely by passing through a mincing machine. Put them in a bowl with the butter and anchovy essence and mix thoroughly. Season to taste. Put into small jars, pour some melted butter on top and when cold tie down. Store in a cool place.

NOTE. – Kipper paste can be made in the same way.

Devilled Bloaters

INGREDIENTS: To each bloater allow a teaspoonful curry powder, and a piece of dripping or butter the size of a large filbert.
METHOD: Begin with the thick side of the fish and cut through below the head as far as the other side of the backbone. Draw sharply and the inside will come out as you pull away the head. Split open the under-part as far as the vent, remove the roe, if there is one, and take out the silver floating bladder, lightly scrape the black lining and the collected blood under the backbone. Next split the bloater so that it lies open like a kipper. Rub it over with the nut of dripping or butter, then spread it with the curry powder. It can then be fried on the uncut side till cooked through, or grilled for 10 minutes. Serve with toast or bread and butter.

Bloater Fritters

INGREDIENTS: 1 bloater for each person. 1 egg, a little flour and milk for batter, a few tablespoonsful of grated cheese, fat for frying.
METHOD: Split open the bloaters and remove the flesh in long fillets. Beat together the egg, flour and milk to form a frying batter; stir in the grated cheese. Divide the fillets into convenient pieces. Dip the fish in the batter, fry in deep boiling fat until golden brown. Do not put too many pieces in the pan at once or you will reduce the temperature too much. Drain well and serve very hot.

VIII: Cold Herring Dishes

Herring Mayonnaise

INGREDIENTS: Any number of cold cooked herrings. They may be boiled, filleted and baked, fried, or baked in the oven. Green salad, with cucumber. Then, to every yolk of egg used allow a pinch of white pepper, a pinch of dried mustard, a dessertspoonful of white wine vinegar or lemon juice and a gill of olive oil.
METHOD: Cook the herrings the way desired. (Baking always seems to me best, but with mayonnaise sauce cold boiled herrings are delicious.} First break a fresh egg into a basin, taking the yolk only. Free it of the little ‘germ’ attached, then add the pinch of dry mustard and pepper and whisk it up. Stir in the vinegar and beat again, then drop in slowly the oil, drop by drop, beating it with a wooden spoon. It should be thick as cream when finished. Instead of using olive oil only, half olive oil and half cream may be used. When the herrings have been masked with the mayonnaise, slice up sufficient cucumber to arrange around. Serve with any kind of green salad. A couple of hard boiled eggs, cut in halves or quarters, then arranged on the salad, improves its appearance.

Herrings in Jelly

Bone, roll, season and bake four fresh herrings. Allow to get quite cold. Cover with 3d. worth of fish bones with water to which you have added pepper and salt and a flavouring of herbs and spices, as liked. Simmer for a couple of hours; you will be surprised at the gelatinous matter that comes from them. Pour this jelly-like substance into a bowl, put in the herring rolls and allow to set. Serve with green salad. If preferred, a packet of aspic jelly may be dissolved and used instead of simmering the bones.

Rice, Herring and Tomato Salad

Scale, clean and behead three or four fresh herrings. Bake in the oven with a little butter for 15 minutes. When cold remove skin and take the flesh from the bones carefully. Divide into convenient pieces.

Mix together a breakfastcup of cold boiled rice, the pieces of fish, three very firm tomatoes cut into strips, and a little chopped onion. Moisten with a dressing made of two parts of olive oil and one part vinegar, seasoned with salt pepper and mustard.

Selsey Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 6 fresh herrings, a tablespoonful vinegar, 3 tablespoonful grated horse-radish. ½ teaspoonful of fine salt, a tablespoonful white wine vinegar, 4 tablespoonful cream, a dash of cayenne, a pinch of dry mustard, a pinch of castor sugar, and a teaspoonful of tarragon vinegar.
METHOD: Clean and fillet the fish. Roll up the fillets, including the roes, and secure each roll of fish and roe with a cotton thread. Set the herring rolls in a buttered fireproof dish, putting a little vinegar on each, then sufficient cold water to come mid-way up the rolls. Bake in a moderate oven for ½ hour, then let them get cold. Now for the sauce: scrape the horse-radish, add to this the salt, the mustard, castor sugar, then stir in the cream. Blend with this the tarragon vinegar, then the white wine vinegar, and stir well. Arrange the herrings on a dish with a border of green salad and serve the sauce in a boat. Instead of cream, milk may be used, or unsweetened condensed milk (about a dessertspoonful). Ordinary vinegar may be substituted for white wine vinegar.

Herring Pickle

INGREDIENTS: 12 salt herrings, 1 pint good vinegar, 1 pint of water, 12 shallots, or small onions, 2 tablespoonful white mustard seed, 1 teaspoonful cloves, 2 bay leaves and ½ teaspoonful allspice.
METHOD: Soak the herrings all night in cold water, then pour off the water, clean and skin, starting at the head. Remove the roes and lay the herrings in a deep dish. Put the vinegar and water in a saucepan, set this over the fire, and bring it to the boil. Slice the shallots or onions, add to the boiling water and vinegar, also add the cloves, allspice, mustard seed and bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Let this mixture get cold. Cut the roes in pieces, lay in a bowl, and pour over them a pint of the spiced vinegar and beat to a creamy sauce. Pour this creamy mixture over the fish, then add the rest of the spiced vinegar, and leave it covered for three days. It may be eaten then, or, if preferred, the whole beaten and pounded down to be stored for a little while.

IX: Hot Herring Dishes

Herring Pie

INGREDIENTS: About 1 lb. of fresh herrings, weighed after cleaning, boning and filleting, a small tin of peas (fresh ones can be used when in season), a few cooked potatoes, a few tablespoonsful of hot milk, ¾ pint of creamy white sauce with a nut of butter added.
METHOD: Roll up the fillets of herring after boning, seasoning each one with salt and pepper. Put a layer of peas in a buttered pie-dish, next the rolled herrings, then more peas, seasoning each layer by turn. Make the sauce and pour in, then cover with a lid of potatoes mashed with hot milk. Bake for about 30 minutes and serve hot. If liked, pastry might be used instead of mashed potatoes.

Taymouth Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 4 herrings, 4 thin rashers fat bacon, 3 tablespoonsful oatmeal, 1 tablespoonful flour, ½ cupful milk, pepper, salt.
METHOD: Prepare herrings, remove heads and tails, and bone. Put the flour in one paper and the oatmeal (seasoned with pepper and salt) in a second paper. Roll the herrings in the flour. Fry the bacon, chop small and keep hot. Dip each floured herring in saucer of milk then coat with seasoned oatmeal and fry in bacon fat left in the pan. Arrange herrings on hot dish with tiny heaps of chopped bacon resting on each.

When I was visiting a farm on the East coast of Scotland for the B.B.C. this dish was served with newly baked scones and fried potatoes. Try it with oatcakes, crisp and hot, nad perhaps you’ll think (as I did) that they are a perfect accompaniment to herrings-cum-bacon dishes.

Herrings with Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS: 4 fresh herrings, 1 lb. mushrooms, 1 oz. butter.
METHOD: Prepare the mushrooms by removing the stalks and peeling. Place the mushrooms in a fireproof baking dish and dust with salt and pepper; put the little dabs of butter over and add barely sufficient water to cover. Cover with a greased paper and back in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Scale and clean the herrings, split open, bone, fillet and remove the roes. The roes should be fried in a little dripping or butter. Grill the herrings, serve the mushrooms in the dish in which they are cooked, arranging the grilled herrings on top, and the fried roes on top of each fillet.

Goodwood Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 6 fresh herrings, 6 large tomatoes, 4 tablespoonsful breadcrumbs, a tablespoonful butter or dripping, a little lemon rind grated, a small minced onion or shallot, a tablespoonful of chopped parsley, a pinch of dried thyme.
METHOD: Clean, scale and behead the herrings, but leave in the roes, then twist them head to tail and fasten with a tiny skewer or cocktail stick. Slice the top off each tomato, using a very sharp knife, and keep the slice. Scoop out the inside of each tomato, discard the hard core, keep the pulp. Put the breadcrumbs, herbs, chopped onion or shallot, lemon rind, pepper and salt in a basin; to this add enough of the tomato pulp to make it moist. Fill each tomato shell with this, and put a bit of butter on top, then lay the slice of tomato to cover. Set a tomato in the centre of each curled herring. Put in a greased fireproof dish and cook for 20 minutes in a fairly hot oven. Serve in the dish in which they are cooked.

Braised Herrings

INGREDIENTS: To every 4 herrings allow 2 teaspoonsful minced parsley, ½ teaspoonful lemon juice, 1 ½ tablespoonsful butter, salt and pepper mix (about a saltspoonful), a dash of cayenne, 1 medium sized onion, 4 tomatoes, a blade of mace, a little water or fish stock.
METHOD: Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold the herrings. Slice the onion finely; fry in the butter, then add the tomatoes cut in halves. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, shaking the contents frequently. Fillet the herrings and roll up the fillets from tail ends. Pack them with the braised vegetables, season with salt, pepper and cayenne, add the blade of mace and scatter the parsley on top. If necessary, add a little stock or water, but as a rule the tomato liquid is sufficient. Cover closely and cook very gently – simmering only – for ½ hour, then lift out the braised herrings on a very hot dish, pour the tomato purée over and serve with plainly boiled rice, mashed potatoes or cooked macaroni.

Herrings à la Française

Fillet the herrings. Wash the roes, season the fillets with salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg and a little lemon juice. Sprinkle with finely minced parsley. Roll them up, putting the roes inside. Wrap each in buttered paper, set in a greased baking dish and back in a moderate oven till the paper puffs out. Remove the paper and serve,

Herrings en Papillotes

INGREDIENTS: 1 herring per person, and to each herring a lump of butter the size of a large filbert, ½ teaspoonful minced parsley, ¼ teaspoonful lemon juice, and a mushroom.
METHOD: Clean, scale, behead and bone the fish, taking out the roes. Chop these up with the mushrooms, add the lemon juice, parsley and black pepper and salt to taste. Mix in the butter and work to a paste. Dust the fish with black pepper and salt, insert a layer of this forcemeat and skewer the sides of the herring together or lightly sew up with white thread. Put each herring in a greased paper, lay in a fireproof dish with a little butter, or with a few tablespoonsful of water and a dash of butter. Bake for ½ hour in a moderate oven, then remove the papers and serve with mustard sauce.

Herrings in Cream Sauce

INGREDIENTS: 3 or 4 fresh herrings, ½ lemon, a little salt, a piece of butter the size of a small egg, 4-5 potatoes, a little parsley, cream sauce.
METHOD: Fillet the fish. Wipe the fillets and roes dry, roll up the fillets, pack them in a buttered fireproof dish with the roes between, sprinkle with a little salt and lemon juice, and cover with buttered paper. Bake for 20 minutes in a moderate oven.

Meanwhile cook the potatoes and mash them with a tablespoonful of hot milk and a nut of margarine or butter.

Serve the herrings on a hot dish, surround with a border of mashed potatoes, sprinkle the mashed potatoes with the minced parsley. Pour the cream sauce over the herrings.

Herrings and Tomatoes

By the way, herrings and tomatoes make a very good blend, and if in a hurry to prepare a tempting dish, butter a baking dish or casserole, fillet the herrings, roll them up, pack with uncut tomatoes, season the whole, and add a few shavings of butter. Cover with a casserole lid, or if in an open dish with a buttered paper, set in the oven (moderate heat), and in half an hour a very nicer supper or ‘High Tea’ dish is ready. The juice in the tomatoes and the oil in the herrings usually provide enough moisture, but a tablespoonful or so of fish stock or water may be added if you like plenty of liquid.

Herrings au Gratin

INGREDIENTS: 1 herring per person, and to every herring allow a tiny pinch of dried thyme, a few mushrooms or a tomato, or 2 tablespoonsful cooked macaroni or spaghetti, a piece of butter, 1 teaspoonful minced parsley; breadcrumbs to cover the top of the dish.
METHOD: Put half of whatever is used (if tomatoes or mushrooms cut them up) at the bottom of the buttered dish and season with pepper and salt. The herrings should be scaled, cleaned, boned, beheaded and filleted, then the fillets rolled up neatly, from the tail. Arrange the rolls on the bottom layer, sift pepper and salt over lightly, also the thyme. Now cover with remainder of whatever medium is chosen and season. Cover with a layer of breadcrumbs. Put little dabs of butter on top. This will melt and provide sufficient liquid for cooking, but if you like a ‘moist’ dish, add a tablespoonful or two of water or milk. Do not do this with tomatoes, as they contain sufficient moisture. Bake for 20-30 minutes in a moderate oven, scatter the parsley on top, and return to the oven for five minutes.

Or, if you prefer a crisp, golden top, add the parsley when you put in the herrings. Serve mustard sauce if tomatoes are used; with macaroni or spaghetti serve tomato sauce.

X: There’s Food Value in Roes

Herring roes make the most delicious snacks but they should not only be regarded as a delicacy. For they are exceptionally nourishing, rich in vitamins and very digestible. This makes them a grand food for children. They are excellent too, for any form of deficiency disease or for anaemia or similar troubles.

Herring Roes on Toast

HOW TO COOK SOFT ROES: You will find it easy to slip them into a colander and stand it for a moment or two in cold water. Then move the colander up and down once or twice and stand it on one side to drain. Coat the roes by rolling them gently in seasoned flour before frying them in a little butter or dripping. Drain well and serve on rounds of buttered toast with a good dash of lemon juice and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Or, if you prefer, simmer the roes in a little milk for 10 minutes. Drain carefully. Curl the roes round and place on toast with a tiny sprig of parsley on each.

ANOTHER METHOD: Put them into tiny fireproof ramekin cups and cook them in the oven with a bit of butter and a sprinkling of fine breadcrumbs over them – and salt of course. Just grease the ramekins with butter first, though.

Or if you like to take the trouble, roll out some pastry to wafer thinness, put a roe in a shell of pastry, back and serve hot. Add a dash of anchovy to the roe when enclosing it.

Soft Roe Potato Cakes

Simmer the roes in milk for 5 minutes, then mash with cooked potatoes, season and fry as fish cakes.

Creamed Roes

Simmer 1 lb. soft roes in ½ pint of milk for 5 minutes. Take out and mash well. Melt 1 ounce of butter in a pan, mix in 1 ounce of flour, simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Add milk in which roes were boiled, simmer for 10 minutes. Then add mashed roes. Season and serve on rounds of buttered toast.

Soft Roes for Children

After a child is a year old, it is an excellent plan to give a small portion of soft roe cooked in milk. Mash the roe with a little baked potato, creamed spinach or other vegetable. Begin with say, a teaspoonful of roe and increase it gradually to a tablespoonful. This makes an excellent vitamin ration for a child, is greatly enjoyed and makes cod liver oil superfluous.

Hard Roes

These are more substantial and if served separate from the fish are tasty. Floured, egged and breadcrumbed and fried for three to five minutes, they are a savoury dish hot or cold, especially for the children’s supper. If required for the children’s dinner, they may be served as a more satisfying meal with mashed or fried potatoes or cooked rice or macaroni. And if a few halved fried tomatoes go to each serving, you’ll be popular with the young folk.

Hard Roe Surprise

INGREDIENTS: 1 hard roe, about a tablespoonful of mashed potatoes, 1 egg, salt and pepper, a little parsley.
METHOD: Cook the herring roe for 15 minutes in boiling salted water, then drain and set in a buttered fireproof dish. Arrange the mashed potato around. Beat up the egg, add pepper and salt and pour this over, then set in the oven. When the egg has set, serve garnished with a little minced parsley.

Hard Roe Butter

Savoury butter for spreading between bread for sandwiches is easily produced. Boil a hard roe or two for a few minutes in salted water. Drain, then mash or pound it. Add pepper, salt, paprika, if liked, and a little softened (not oiled) butter. Beat together and press into little jars ready to use for the lunch basket.

XI: Sauces to Serve with Herrings

Herrings, fresh, salted or cured, are good if cooked in the simplest way. But a well-made sauce adds greatly to the appearance, flavour and nutriment of the dish with which it is served. The sauces given below will cost you little, not only in time and trouble, but also in expense.

Plain White Sauce

INGREDIENTS: ½ pint milk, 1 oz. butter, 1 oz. flour, ½ saltspoonful salt.
METHOD: Put the butter into a small saucepan over gentle heat and gradually add the flour, stirring until free from lumps, then cook for two or three minutes. Remove saucepan from fire and pour in the milk slowly, again stirring until the mixture is quite smooth. Sprinkle in the salt and stir while the sauce comes to the boil, then simmer only for just five minutes. This plain white sauce may be looked upon as a foundation for lots of other tastier sauces. For instance:

Parsley Sauce

Add two teaspoonsful of parsley finely chopped and serve very hot.

Mustard Sauce

Mix together a heaped teaspoonful of raw mustard, two teaspoonsful of vinegar. When smooth stir the mixture into the white sauce and bring to the boil again.

Anchovy Sauce

Stir into the white sauce a teaspoonful of essence of anchovy. (It’s better if anchovy is to be used not to have any salt added when making the foundation.)

Caper Sauce

INGREDIENTS: ½ pint of foundation white sauce, 2 teaspoonsful of capers.
METHOD: Add the capers and stir for a few minutes before putting sauce into hot tureen or sauce boat. This is very appetising for serving with casseroled, teamed or boiled herrings.

If capers are not available lift a small gherkin or a piece of cucumber from your mixed pickles and chop up small.

Simple Melted Butter Sauce

INGREDIENTS: 1 oz. butter, 3 teaspoonsful flour; 1 breakfastcupful hot water, salt and pepper to taste.
METHOD: Put the butter and flour into a small saucepan, cook and stir until smooth. Pour in the hot water, bring gradually to boil – boil very gently for six minutes. Add seasoning. (This foundation is often used instead of white sauce for parsley, egg, anchovy, etc.)

Hollandaise Sauce

INGREDIENTS: 2 teaspoonsful cornflour, 3 tablespoonsful stock (from boiling fish bones or fish), 1 ½ tablespoonsful vinegar (tarragon, if possible), 2 egg-yolks juice of half a lemon, 1 small shallot, 2 oz. butter, salt and pepper to taste.
METHOD: Melt butter in small saucepan – put in the cornflour, then the stock and vinegar. Stir quickly and continuously until just on boiling. Add the other ingredients – excepting the yolks. See that the shallot is peeled and crushed before putting it into the pan. Remove pan from fire and whisk in the yolks one at a time, then stand the pan in larger saucepan containing boiling water and whisk the sauce until as smooth and thick as cream. This sauce must not be allowed to boil after the egg yolks are added.

(A great improvement to steamed, boiled, casseroled or grilled herrings.)

Browned Mustard Sauce

INGREDIENTS: 1 oz. butter, 1 ox. flour, 2 teaspoonsful mustard (raw), 1 breakfastcupful stock, 1 teaspoonful chopped pickled onion, gherkin or capers, 4 drops gravy colouring.
METHOD: Make the sauce with the melted butter and flour blended together in a pan. Add the stock (leaving a tablespoonful or two out to mix mustard). Bring to the boil, simmer for five minutes, then stir in the mustard mixed smooth with the stock and the drops of browning. Lastly put in capers (or chopped gherkins or onion). Serve in hot sauceboat or poured over the herrings.

Curry Sauce

Add a teaspoonful of curry powder to the flour when making one or other of the foundation sauces.

Walnut Sauce

This may be made with an ounce of butter melted in a saucepan, four pickled walnuts chopped and three tablespoonsful of the pickling liquid. Serve hot. Or the walnuts may be added to brown sauce made with the foundation sauce and brown stock (instead of water or milk).

Cream Sauce

INGREDIENTS: 1 oz. butter or margarine, the yolks of 3 eggs, 3 tablespoonsful cream or milk, a good pinch of salt, a dash of cayenne, the strained juice of 1 lemon.
METHOD: Put the butter in a saucepan, add the beaten yolks of the eggs, the salt, pepper and cream, and the lemon-juice, then stand the saucepan in a larger pan of boiling water, and with a wooden spoon stir till the sauce thickens.

Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS: 3 or 4 tomatoes, a pinch of dried thyme, a little pepper and ½ teaspoonful of salt, 1 dessertspoonful of cornflour, ½ pint of water, a small lump of margarine or butter.
METHOD: Simmer the tomatoes till tender in the water with salt, pepper and thyme, then put them through a sieve. Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with a little water, stir in the tomato mixture; return to the saucepan and cook for 8 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Just before serving add the butter or margarine, or a tablespoonful of cream.

Maître d’Hôtel Butter

Put an ounce of butter into a bowl and work in thoroughly a dessertspoonful chopped parsley, a few drops of lemon juice, a pinch of dry mustard, pepper and salt. Put a pat of this on each grilled herring. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

XII: Snacks

Soused Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 6 or 8 herrings, 1 tablespoonful mixed pickling spice, 1 breakfastcupful vinegar, 1 breakfastcupful water, 1 level teaspoonful salt, 3 pickled onions.
METHOD: Cut off the heads and tails, clean and bone the fish. Roll up with a slice of onion inside each fish. Pack in a baking dish (not baking tin). Scatter pickling spice between the rolls, add remainder of onion sliced. Sprinkle in salt, pour in vinegar and water, mixed together. Bay leaves may be added if liked. Bake in a slow oven for one and a half hours. If preferred, so not bone fish but lay in a dish, alternately thick end to thin end.

Different districts have their own traditional methods of preparing soused herrings and I have seen a small piece of bruised root ginger, bay leaves, half a dozen stalks (stems only) of parsley, fresh shallots, and even chunks of cucumber added to the baking dish.

Scalloped Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 2 cooked herrings, ½ pint of white sauce, 4 tablespoonsful breadcrumbs, 1 oz. butter, 1 teaspoonful lemon juice, salt and pepper, ½ lb. cooked potatoes, 1 teaspoonful milk, lemon and parsley for garnish.
METHOD: Sieve the potatoes. Put in a pan with ½ oz. butter and the milk. Beat well over heat until creamy. Butter 4 to 6 scallop shells according to size, line with breadcrumbs and put a tablespoonful of sauce in each. Remove skin and bone from the fish and divide the flesh among the shells. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cover with breadcrumbs and sprinkle with remainder of butter (melted). Put the potatoes in a forcing bag with a large rose pipe and force it round the fish in each shell. Grill until golden brown, or bake in a hot oven. Garnish with a butterfly of lemon and a sprig of parsley. This is an excellent way of using herring ‘left-overs.’

Herrings as Hors-d’Œuevres

INGREDIENTS: 1 salt herring, a small onion or shallot, 1 hard-boiled egg, salt and pepper, a little parsley.
METHOD: Soak the herring in cold water for 24 hours, then soak in vinegar for the same time. Skin, bone and behead, chop the flesh up finely with the shallot or onion. Add pepper and a very little salt. Mix in the chopped white of egg. Put in a hors d’œuvre dish, garnish with the chopped up yolk of egg and parsley.

There are many delightful forms of the familiar fresh herring on the market – for instance, there are Bismarck Herrings, Herring Fillets, bottled and tinned. Boned Kippers, and a new form of herring called Buckling, smoked whole like bloaters to a golden brown; they may be eaten cold, since they have been smoked at a higher temperature than bloaters.

Herrings on Toast

INGREDIENTS: 1 herring, 1 small slice of buttered toast per person, pepper and salt, a little lemon juice, a few sprigs of parsley.
METHOD: Fillet the fish and dust with a little salt and pepper and squeeze a little lemon juice over, then grill. Lay the fillets on buttered toast and garnish with parsley.

All sorts of variations can be worked. First spread the toast with anchovy paste, or hot tomato mixture. Or, instead of toast dip the bread in a mixture of egg and milk, then fry a golden brown.

There is another method of serving fried bread instead of toast as in –

Normandy Herrings

INGREDIENTS: 1 herring and a slice of bread per person, a little anchovy essence, straw potato, anchovy sauce, and dripping.
METHOD: Fillet the herrings, then grill. Fry the bread in dripping, drain, then spread lightly with anchovy essence. Put two fillets of herring on each slice of fried bread, arrange straw potatoes around and serve with anchovy or tomato sauce.

To make the potato straws, cut the potatoes after peeling in thin slices. Soak in cold water for a little while. Drain thoroughly. Wipe, place the slices on a board and cut into straws and fry. Shake the pan to keep the straws from sticking together.

Golden Egg and Herring Toasts

INGREDIENTS: 1 cooked herring fillet and 1 egg per person, 1 piece of toast per serving, salt cayenne pepper (or white pepper if preferred).
METHOD: Separate yolk from white of each egg. See that the fish is free from bone, add to the yolks in the basin. Beat lightly together, season. Have toasts trimmed and well buttered. Whip the egg whites until stiff (add a pinch of salt). Then place a little pile on each piece of toast and put the toasts on greased fireproof dish. Drop a spoonful of herring and yolk mixture in centre of each pile of white. Put in oven. Bake for a few minutes until golden brown.

This is a method you could adopt with herring roes just dropped in the yolks one at a time and put in place in centre of white. They are light, easily digested and most attractive to serve to invalids or children.

Salt Herring Ramekins

INGREDIENTS: 3 salt herrings (filleted), ½ lb. cooked potatoes, 1 teacupful cooked butter beans, 2 small onions, 2 tablespoonsful vinegar, 1 oz. butter, a few teaspoonsful of milk.
METHOD: Grease ramekins with butter, put in a layer of fish, sprinkle over a little onion finely chopped, and pepper, then add a layer of beans mashed with a little butter. Add the ingredients in layers as before. Moisten each ramekin with a little vinegar. Then mash the potatoes with milk and a little butter, and spread like a crust over the top. Put on tiny dabs of butter and bake for 20 minutes.

The Leaflets: Autumn Dishes for October

With the success of the different versions of their recipe booklet, the Herring Industry Board began issuing Herring Recipes of the Month as double-sided A5 leaflets. So far, I have only come across Autumn Dishes for October, which features Herring – Apple Surprise, but there may have been more.

Herring – Apple Surprise

INGREDIENTS: 4 fresh herrings, 1 dessertspoonful finely grated onion, 1 teaspoonful sugar, ¼ lb. finely chopped apple, 2 oz. fresh breadcrumbs, ½ oz. or other fat, melted. Salt and pepper.
METHOD: Scale, clean and wash the herrings. Split open flat. Remove backbone and all small bones. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Mix the apple, onion, and sugar with ¾ of the breadcrumbs. Season to taste. Place this stuffing mixture inside the herrings. Fold over from head to tail. Place in greased dish, sprinkle with the rest of the crumbs and pour over them the melted fat. Bake in moderate oven for 20 to 30 minutes till cooked through and nicely brown.