Herrings, sprats, sardines and whitebait
These all belong to the same family – herrings are the largest; sprats and sardines in the middle; and whitebait are tiny little fish that are eaten whole. They all have a similar texture and flavour – why people will die to get hold of fresh sardines but ignore herrings will always be a mystery to me as herrings are the same as sardines but with lots more succulent flesh on them.
Truly, though, this group all have a wonderful gutsy flavour and are delicious shallow- or deep-fried, grilled or barbecued. Herrings are also very good baked in the oven.This group of fish are not oily in the way we use the word but they do contain a certain amount of precious substances called omega-3 fatty acids, which are said to help reduce heart disease – so much so that it is recommended that everyone eats some of this type of fish once a week.
Good old tinned sardines are fashionable again and are an ideal storecupboard ingredient, great for serving on toast sprinkled with a little balsamic and lots of seasoning. This is also the perfect storecupboard meal for two.
Cheap, nutritious and packed with flavour, the humble herring deserves wider recognition, according to Delia. This recipe shows off its tasty potential really well.
The clean pickle flavours make these soused herrings a great choice for lunch or supper with home-made bread and salad. They'll keep for a week in the fridge and need to be made at least two days before you want to eat them.
One of the best things about summer has to be barbecuing - and sardines lend themselves to this method of cooking. Finish them off with a luscious herby sauce for a true taste of the Mediterranean.
For me the humble herring, once the food of the poor, is a great delicacy with all the gutsy flavours of fresh sardines but lots more juicy flesh. Now they can be bought boned and filleted and are cooked in moments. The lime and pepper crust is frag