Fennel, apple and herring salad

    43 min

    Oily fish such as herring are traditionally served with tart or pungent ingredients that offer a refreshing piquancy to balance the rich fish flavour. In this Scandinavian-style salad, apple, fennel and lemon juice offer the complementary contrast. Serve the salad for lunch or supper.

    2 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 4 herrings, cleaned and heads removed, cleaned weight about 500g (1 lb 2 oz)
    • 120ml (4 fl oz) dry cider
    • 360ml (12 fl oz) vegetable stock
    • 2 shallots, sliced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 200g (7 oz) couscous
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 red-skinned dessert apple
    • 1/2 cucumber, diced
    • 1 small bulb of fennel, diced
    • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
    • 45g (1 1/2 oz) hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
    • salt and pepper
    • sprigs of fresh dill or fennel fronds to garnish
    • Dill and mustard dressing
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
    • 4 tbsp Greek-style yogurt
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

    Prep:25min  ›  Cook:18min  ›  Ready in:43min 

    1. Rinse the herrings. Pour the cider and stock into a saucepan large enough to hold the fish. Add the shallots and bay leaf, cover and simmer over a moderately low heat for 10 minutes. Add the fish and continue simmering for 8 minutes or until the flesh looks opaque. Remove the herrings and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve 270 ml (9 fl oz).
    2. Put the couscous in a bowl and pour over the reserved fish cooking liquid. Cover and leave to soak for about 10 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid. Add the mint, parsley and lemon juice, and fluff up the grains with a fork to mix.
    3. To make the dressing, in a small bowl stir together the lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise and yogurt until smooth, then stir in the dill.
    4. Quarter, core and dice the apple. Put the apple, cucumber, fennel, spring onions and hazelnuts into a bowl and stir in half of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Remove the skin from the herrings and carefully take the fillets off the backbone. Use tweezers, if necessary, to remove any remaining bones. Cut the flesh into large pieces and mix gently with the remaining dressing.
    6. Pile the couscous on individual plates and arrange the apple salad and fish on top. Garnish with dill sprigs or fennel fronds and serve.

    Some more ideas

    Replace the couscous with 280 g (10 oz) small pasta shapes, cooked and cooled. Gently stir the pasta with the herring and the apple salad, adding a little extra dill. * Make a delicious Italian-style mackerel and bean salad. Wrap a 450 g (1 lb) mackerel in foil and bake in a preheated 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) oven for about 20 minutes. Cool, then remove the skin and bones and flake the flesh. Omit the couscous and the apple salad. Instead, mix together 2 oranges, peeled and segmented, 1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced, 3 spring onions, thinly sliced and a can of cannellini or kidney beans, about 400 g, rinsed and drained. Add the mackerel to the salad with 3 tbsp chopped parsley. Make a dressing with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and pepper to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve on a bed of rocket, with crusty bread to accompany.

    Plus points

    Greek-style yogurt is made from full fat cow's or ewe's milk, and it has a much thicker texture and richer taste than plain low-fat yogurt. Look out for the lower fat varieties of Greek-style yogurt now available, with 4% or even 0% fat content – they still retain the creamy texture. * The fat content of herring (and of the fat-soluble vitamins A and D) varies according to the season, with highest values occurring in late summer and lowest values in spring. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, vision and eyes and, as with all vitamins, for growth; vitamin D is vital for the efficient absorption of calcium.

    Each serving provides

    B6, B12, E, niacin, iron, selenium * B1, calcium, copper, potassium * A, B2, C, folate, zinc

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