During the 19th century herring sustained the Scottish fishing industry almost single handed and it could be justified in saying it developed some of those lovely coastal villages that we love to visit especially on the west coast.  Herring is right in season just now, at its best from the end of August through to October.  Its always best to follow the seasons when choosing what goes on our dinner plates not just because of its availability or its flavour but because it is at its cheapest and there are very few fish that are as good value as herring is.

This makes it the ideal fish for any home cook or a nutritional addition to a student’s budget.  With the new study year beginning you may find this a great addition for a cost saving, tasty and a great value meal to store for several weeks in your fridge, bought in a large quantity and brined very simply, this saves time and will be welcome boost for the brain!

Serve in many fashions, cold as a salad, warmed in an omelette or with boiled potatoes and mayonnaise, it makes a wonderful topping to a baked potato and use a little of the brine mixed with olive oil for tasty and healthy vinaigrette.

5 whole herring ask your monger to gut, scale and fillet
250ml white vinegar
100g white sugar
3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 shallot sliced
1 clove garlic sliced

Place all the ingredients in a pan, bring to the boil and immediately reduce to a slight simmer for 2 minutes.  Place the herring in a single layer in a tight fitting dish, once the brine is at room temperature pour over the herring making sure its fully submerged, store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving, it will keep refrigerated in the brine for a week, it can of course be removed from the brine and frozen, though the quality of its texture may lessen.