Monday, 1 March 2010

what to do with your rollmop thanks to Hugh F-W

Herring, potato and watercress salad
This makes a delicious, punchy main-course salad; leftovers are good in a lunchbox the next day. Serves four to six.
400g small, waxy potatoes300g rollmop herring (see previous recipe)1 small shallot, peeled, halved and finely sliced1 tbsp dill fronds, chopped1 big handful watercress
For the dressing½ tbsp wholegrain mustard1 tsp freshly grated (or prepared) strong horseradish½ tsp dry mustard1 tbsp cider vinegar3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil, plus ½ tsp extra for the watercressA good pinch of sugarSalt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Taste and add a little more sugar if necessary.
Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and, when cooled just enough to handle, halve and toss in the dressing. Set aside to cool.
Cut the rollmops into bite-sized pieces and mix gently with the ­potatoes, shallot and dill. Dress the watercress with oil, turning it with your hands, and season. Divide the salad between four plates and spoon the potatoes and herring on top.

Rollmops with thanks to Hugh F-W

Cider vinegar and orange rollmops
Some commercial rollmops are ­pickled in brutally acidic distilled vinegar, which obliterates their oily succulence and flavour. It's ­immensely satisfying to make your own – this brine mixture is the one we use at River Cottage, though ­experiment with the aromatics to create a blend that is your own. Makes three 500ml jars.
6 large, fresh herrings, descaled, gutted and filleted60g salt
For the marinade
500ml cider vinegar250ml cider12 allspice berries12 black peppercorns6 bay leaves1 tbsp light brown sugar1 tsp mustard seedsZest of 1 large orange, pared into wide strips with no white pith1 small onion (red or white), very thinly sliced
Check the herring fillets for any pin bones and remove as necessary. Dissolve the salt in 500ml cold water to make a brine, then add the fillets. Leave for two to three hours.
Meanwhile, make the marinade. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring slowly to a boil and simmer for a minute. Set aside to cool.
Drain the herring fillets from the brine and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Roll them up, skin side out, from tail end to head end, and pack the rolls into three sterilised 500ml preserving jars. Pour the ­marinade over the herrings, making sure you get some of the spices and zest in each jar, then seal.
Store in the fridge for at least three days before eating. They're best eaten five to 10 days from ­jarring, but will keep for up to a month. The longer you leave them, the softer and more pickled they'll get.
To serve, drain the fillets from their marinade and accompany with a little soured cream and slices of rye bread or country-style bread.