Laitances de Hareng á la Varsovie

Some foods drop completely out of fashion, and then for no apparent reason rush back in. Something which I love – although I haven’t eaten it for a long time is herring roe – yes, I know a lot of people find it disgusting, but I love it. It was a mainstay in the past, and I found it in Mrs A.B. Marshall’s Cookery Book as an hors d’œuvre. I guess these days if your fishmonger has them they will probably be prepared, but back then, as well as the recipe, there was instruction on what to do before you start cooking them:

Takes some soft roes of fresh herring, remove all the blood from them, and very carefully wash them in cold salt and water.

The recipes in her book aren’t written as we expect them these days, with a list of ingredients followed by a set of numbered instructions; however, I’m sharing the recipe in the ‘modern’ way:

Laitances de Hareng á la Varsovie – (this is also nice as a savoury)

  • soft roe of fresh herring
  • 3-4 laurel leaves (bay)
  • 3 tbsp French vinegar
  • 8-10 peppercorns
  • peeled cucumber, diced
  • French capers
  • salad oil
  • coralline pepper (paprika) or chopped parsley
  1. put the roes in a pie dish with the laurel leaves
  2. add French vinegar and ½ pint boiling water
  3. place in a moderate oven, covered wit=h buttered paper for 10mins
  4. remove from oven and leave to cool
  5. mix the chopped cucumber and capers and season well with salad oil
  6. place 1 tbsp cucumber and caper mixture on each plate
  7. place a roe on top of each and sprinkle with coralline pepper or chopped parsley

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