Pickled herring with red pepper marmalade and shellfish dressing

Pickled herring with red pepper marmalade and shellfish dressing

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

Of all the pickled herrings I have done, this is one of my favourites. We serve it as one of our first courses in the fine dining restaurant and it’s the perfect dinner party dish. Everything is prepared beforehand, so all you have to remember is to remove it from the fridge an hour before the meal so that it is served at room temperature.


Quantity Ingredient
4 herrings, scaled, gutted, butterflied and pin-boned
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
250ml cider vinegar
100g caster sugar
cornish sea salt

Red pepper marmalade

Quantity Ingredient
3 red peppers
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
100ml white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
olive oil, for cooking
40g caster sugar

Shellfish dressing

Quantity Ingredient
150ml Shellfish stock
50ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil


  1. To pickle the herrings, lay them in a dish large enough to hold them side by side submerged in the pickling liquor. Put the coriander seeds, peppercorns, thyme, shallots, cider vinegar and sugar into a small pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add 1 teaspoon of salt. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Once cooled, pour the liquid and all the flavourings over the herrings and cover the fish closely with a layer of cling film to keep them submerged in the liquor. Place in the fridge and leave for 24 hours before eating.
  3. To make the pepper marmalade, heat your oven to 200°C. Roast the peppers on a roasting tray in the oven for 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool: the trapped steam will help to lift the skins.
  4. Meanwhile, put the red onion, garlic, wine vinegar and thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer. Let bubble over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced right down, almost to nothing; be careful not to burn the onions.
  5. Peel the skins from the peppers, then halve, core, deseed and slice them thinly. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add a drizzle of oil and then add the sliced peppers and sugar. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the red onion mixture. Cook until the juice has reduced to almost nothing. Taste and season the marmalade, allow to cool, then chill.
  6. For the shellfish dressing, in a bowl, whisk the shellfish stock and rapeseed oil with a pinch of salt to combine thoroughly; set aside.
  7. Drain the herring fillets. Lay half of them skin side down on a sheet of cling film. Spread each one with red pepper marmalade and place another fillet on top to make a sandwich.
  8. Place a ‘herring sandwich’ on each plate and spoon on the shellfish dressing to serve.
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