Herring is a good choice of fish – alongside fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon – to eat in the winter as they contain plenty of healthy essential oils.
Herring are classic old-school fish and they have fallen somewhat out of fashion in recent years, although these days they are starting to make more appearances on restaurant menus. One disadvantage with these fish is that they need to be eaten very fresh or the taste is a bit tinny on the tongue.
2 large or 4 small fresh herring, filleted and small bones removed
1-2tbsp plain flour
A tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying
A couple of good knobs of butter
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into fine matchstick shreds
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut like the carrot
A piece of celeriac weighing about the same as the carrot, peeled and cut the same
3tbsp cider vinegar
2 medium shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1tsp caster sugar
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
Mix the shredded vegetables and shallots and place in iced water for an hour to crisp up. Drain, damp dry with some kitchen towel then mix with the vinegar and sugar in a non-reactive bowl and season then leave for about 15 minutes while you are cooking the fish.
Season the fish and lightly flour the skin side, patting off any excess flour with your hands. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy, trusty frying pan or non-stick one and cook the fillets skin-side down for about 3 minutes on each side, adding the butter halfway through cooking. The skin side should be crisp and you may need to leave the fish skin-side down in the pan a little longer during cooking.
Meanwhile, drain the vegetables off and scatter over cold serving plates and drizzle with the rapeseed oil. Place the fillets on the vegetables, skin side up and serve.