Herring & Coddled Eggs

Herrings! I adore oily fish and after a good run with sprats, I've turned my attention to herring ...

Over on MDA, I was delighted to see that my Herring Salad made the Recipe Corner, and it was noted that this was a great reminder that we could all do with more herring in our lives.

Let's just take a moment to look at these beautiful fish ...

Found in temperate waters of the North Pacific and North Atlanic, including the Baltic, these silvery beauties grow to around six to eight inches in length for Baltics and up to eighteen inches for open sea species.

The fat to protein ratio is high, something like 40% being fat, rich in omega-3. Thin bones, you really don't mind getting a few in with the fillets (or whole fish) which no doubt contain all manner of micronutrient goodies, besides which the carcasses make great stock!

This is breakfast, and as such I just pull things out of the fridge and cupboards, keep piling up until I have what looks like a hearty meal.

Today, Herring & Coddled Eggs.


Herring, bacon, pea shoots, black pepper and chilli powder. Whole grain mustard.

Chestnut mushrooms, tomato and a couple of eggs.


Gut the fish, keeping the roes. Fillet, clean up and put all the offcuts and the carcass into a pan with some water to simmer for a good hour - collect the stock and freeze it. The roes, I'll use another day, possibly in a starter tomorrow evening.


Coddling is an old-fashioned method of very gently cooking eggs without the fierceness of poaching directly.

Simply crack an egg, or couple of eggs, into a ramekin which we'll immerse into boiling water just level with the tops of the ramekins.


The eggs take the longest amount of time, possibly 20 minutes, so immerse into boiling water and lower the heat until a lively simmer is seen.

Leave the eggs to it ...

In a skillet, get a couple of rashers of bacon each cooking through gently, alongside, fry off some mushrooms and half a tomato each.

Meanwhile, dress a plate ...

I used some pea shoots, black pepper and chilli powder, over which the rest of the meal will be placed. Spinach would do admirably, here.

Once the eggs are just about done, which you can check by just poking the tip of a knife into the very middle and testing against your lip, clear the skillet and fry off your herring fillets in a little butter.

Skin side first and once the opaqueness is just coming through, flip them over and let the residual heat cook them through.


Bacon down, herrings over, mushrooms and tomato in each corner and turn the eggs out (gently does it!) alongside.

Optionally, spoon some wholegrain mustard over the herrings. Perfect partners, and relax ... mustard is a seed, not a grain.

There you have it ... Herring & Coddled Eggs.