Summer salad of cured herring, shaved fennel and orange: a CardioKit recipe

...two fresh “Silver Darlings” cost £2.30 #budgetoilyfish

Lets keep this short. A delicious combination of oily fish perfumed with spiced sweet and sour pickle, balanced with citrus and the aniseed hit of fennel. More importantly who said eating fresh fish is expensive?  —  two fresh UK herring cost £2.30 from Waitrose!

Herring are super easy to prepare and de-bone using the legendary Rick Stein method. Cut off the head and tail. Slit the underside belly of the fish from end to end, and open the fish on a flat surface with the back point upwards. Now firmly ‘squish’ the fish flat by applying pressure on the back with the palm of your hand, turn over the opened fish and you should be able to pull and tease out the whole back-bone gently with your fingers. Satisfyingly this will bring with it all the smaller rib bones as well. Now you can gently fry in a little olive oil, place under a super hot grill or pickle those beautifully oily ‘Silver Darlings’.

For 4 portions:

  • 2 fresh herring whole (gutted by your fishmonger)
  • 2 oranges  —  segmented
  • 1 fennel bulb  —  shaved thin on a mandolin (fronds used as garnish)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper


  • 50 g sea salt
  • 16 g sugar


  • 100 mls of white wine vinegar
  • 50 g of sugar
  • bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • few peppercorns
  • 1/2 a sliced carrot
  • 2 – 3 orange peel strips
  1. Cure the fish  —  rub the flesh side with the salt and sugar cure, cover and place in the fridge for 2 – 3 hours. You will find the fish will lose water and become firm. Rinse off under running cold water and pat dry.
  2. Meanwhile combine the pickle ingredient in a pan and bring to the boil for a few seconds. The vinegar will lose its ‘harshness’ and smell and will taste sweet and perfumed. Put aside until completely cool.
  3. Cover the fish with the pickling liquor and place in the fridge. They will be good overnight but 48 hours is better.
  4. Combine the shaved fennel, orange segments and half a fish fillet per portion. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and a spoon of the pickle. You can also squeeze the remaining core of the oranges once segmented for a little extra dressing. Season and enjoy.


  • I have been wanting to try pickling, and this recipe is so accessible that now I might just have a go!

    Clare_irons, 16th January 2017 at 6:50 pm -
    • So pleased and do let us know how your pickling experience goes. We love to inspire! Thanks.

      Mary, 18th January 2017 at 8:45 am -

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