lemon and chile herring; tomato-caper salsa, garlic potato


thinking the award for most photogenic fish fillet goes to the oily fish family


In the first minutes after arriving at the fish stall in the Greenmarket I thought my choice would be swordfish or blackfish/tautog, maybe a sea bass or hake fillet, but when I saw these beautiful herring I couldn’t resist their beauty, even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them.

In the evening I went for very simple approach, one which involved lots of lemon, and a good helping of chiles, and tamed the fish with a tomato-caper salsa, and twice-cooked potatoes. It was very similar to the treatment I had often given to mackerel, originally a Sicilian-inspired recipe from Michael White.


seasoned, ready for the grill pan





  • eight one-and-a-half-ounce herring fillets from Pura Vida Fisheries, washed, dried, dusted with the zest of one and a half lemons, one and a half dried peperoncini, crushed, salt, and freshly ‘ground’ (I always use an ancient wooden mortar) pepper, placed skin side down on a ridged grill pan, cooked for 1 or 2 minutes, turned and cooked for 1 or 2 minutes more, drizzled with olive oil, served with lemon ‘eighths’, and a tomato-caper salsa
  • a salsa of halved red grape tomatoes from the gentler southern jersey climes of Kernan Farms, tossed with olive oil, salted capers which had been rinsed and drained, some finely-sliced fresh garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, lemon juice, salt, and pepper,
  • four German Butterball potatoes from Berried Treasures, scrubbed and boiled in salted water until just tender, then drained and dried, cut into approximately one-inch sections, cooked in 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat until beginning to brown lightly (about 5 minutes), the flame turned down, one sliced medium clove of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm added and cooked with the potatoes for about 3 more minutes, or until both potatoes really are brown and garlic crisp, seasoned with salt and pepper, served alongside the fish and salsa
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Dão) white, Casa de Mouraz, Dão Blanco ‘Encruzado’ 2013, from Flatiron Wines & Spirits
  • the music was an album of works by the almost-forgotten eighteenth-century composer Marianna Martines (hers is an amazing story)