With the Scottish North Sea herring season getting underway over the coming weeks, consumers are being urged to include this tasty and nutritious fish in their shopping baskets.
Known as the ‘silver darlings’, North Sea herring is one of the most sustainable types of fish around and carries the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ecolabel for the responsible way the fishery is managed.
Herring is also an incredibly nutritious fish, packed full of minerals, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids that are so important for heart health.
Ian McFadden of the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association says: “The arrival of fresh herring in the shops used to be as great a feature of summer as finding fresh strawberries. There is still undoubtedly a keen interest from the public to buy and serve fresh herring fillets for a family meal. I would urge all the major food retailers to offer this great product when it is season – they would not be disappointed in the sales.”
According to Tony Jackson, director at the Buchan Braes Hotel in Peterhead and former president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland, herring is an incredibly versatile fish in the kitchen that is full of flavour.
“Scottish North Sea herring is sustainably caught, and combined with its great flavour, makes the fish a huge favourite with chefs and consumers,” he says.
“We like to marinade our herring in different ways and serve with salads and pulses. One of our most popular is a marinade comprising our own home-grown bronze fennel with chilli that is served with puy lentils or a quinoa salad. We also make traditional rollmops, as well as herring in a sweet sherry marinade.
“Simplicity is the key for cooking herring, and pan-fried herring in oatmeal with a mustard sauce tastes absolutely superb and is hard to beat.”
The Scottish fleet lands most of its herring into the ports of Lerwick, Fraserburgh and Peterhead. Vessels in the fleet are members of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG), an organisation dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for Scotland’s herring and mackerel sectors. Their activities include participating in a range of science-based initiatives to enhance our understanding of these fish stocks.
Ian Gatt of SPSG said: “We would urge consumers who have not previously tried herring to give it a try as it is such a delicious fish. It also a great value for money, sustainable and can be served in a variety of ways.”
The new herring season gets underway in Scotland at the end of July with boats working a variety of fishing grounds in the North Sea, including areas around Shetland and Orkney.