herring recipe with chopped herbs on top

Jamie and Jimmy are carrying on the fight against food waste in their new Friday Night Feast TV series, this time by embracing the incredible UK produce that usually gets binned, or just outright ignored.

This week, herring is on the menu. Known as “silver darlings”, these oily fish were once a staple part of the British diet – rich in omega-3, healthy, cheap and super-tasty, too – but they’ve since fallen out of fashion. Despite their abundance in British seas, we now consume less than 10% of these little fish, opting for other varieties, such as salmon, tuna, cod and haddock.

As Jamie points out: “Because cod and haddock normally feed on herring, as their numbers deplete, the numbers of herring are obviously rising. We really need to be eating further down the food chain! Also, because herring feed on plankton and so on, they’re the ones that are really full of those omega 3s, vitamin D and all that other good stuff.”

So, ditch the cod and embrace the humble herring. Here are three of our favourite ways:

Sliced into strips and tossed through pasta, herring will stretch much further in this thrifty Mediterranean–style supper. Teamed with garlic, parsley, bursts of cherry tomato and a hit of chilli, this is a great nod to warmer months.

Go for a Mexican vibe with this delicious crowd pleaser. Piled into tacos with chunky guacamole and fresh salsa, and marinated with fennel, paprika, chilli flakes and lime juice, this herring dish certainly packs a punch. Gather your friends and family around the table, lay out all your different bits and pieces and let everyone build their own DIY lunch.

Serve them up Scandi-style. As Jamie discovered on a recent trip to Sweden, the Swedes take herring incredibly seriously, working in November to pickle and preserve them when they’re at their best: “I’m so glad I became re-acquainted with the joys of herring during my visit. I discovered some really creative, mind-blowing flavours for pickling: everything from dill to red onion, cloves and even curried mayo!” Pickled herring is a great thing to have in the fridge, ready to be added to lovely winter salads or livened up with simple flavours. Here Jamie gives herring a makeover with soured cream, chives, red onion and lemon zest – super-simple and delicious, served as a starter or with new potatoes and salad for a main.