I’m mad about herring roe, but since I moved away from sunny Southend to the tropical climes of London last year, I hadn’t seen it in any of my local supermarkets. I even strayed away from the big orange one to a blue one and a green one in search of a cheap can of this salty, creamy goodness (oo-er…ah, I’ll keep it in.) But alas, apart from Seriously Expensive cans of it, it was nowhere to be found.
So IMAGINE my delight when last week, picking up a tin of sardines in the orange shop (supermarket, that is, not the phone provider – showing my age now, “I remember when it was the Orange Shop….” – oh and I digress. That almost never happens)…. Anyway, I found some herring roe. In the same old orange and white Basics tin, and I STOCKPILED it. I even gift wrapped some and gave it to my lovely other half, to lessen the guilt around buying, er, ‘several’ tins of it, as we are huge fans of tinned fish in this house and romance definitely isn’t dead. It takes a fairly secure woman to say I Love You with a can of Sainsburys Basics tinned fish, I can tell you.
Anyway, today, in another expression of undying romance, I set about making something from the herring roe. It’s not a taramasalata, which is a good job really because that is a BUGGER to type – it’s a creamed herring roe spread, and it’s just divine. I had mine as a high protein post-workout snack for my sore muscles, but you can have yours on toast, from a spoon, or however you darn well please. (But I’d totally recommend it splodged onto a soft boiled egg with a little bit of finely chopped onion and some black pepper…) For those of you who care about protein, one little can has a whopping 19g – equivalent to three eggs. And the soft cheese adds a little more… Beats a thick and lumpy chemical-laden protein shake any day of the week. I tried almost every brand of protein shake when I was in the Fire Service, and yeesh, there’s some shockers out there. Although I do have a packet of Pulsin’ Soy Protein living on top of the fridge these days for experimental purposes, I like to get my protein from, er, FOOD these days. Because I like food.
Serves 4 for a snack at 38p each
125g can of herring roe (94g drained weight), £1.35
50g soft cheese, or 2 tbsp mayo, 13p
a small amount of onion, very finely chopped, <1p
1 tbsp lemon juice, 3p
a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper <1p
First drain your herring roe and give it a quick spritz under a cold tap – it’s stored in brine, and some people like the briney taste but I don’t think it belongs in this dish. You may disagree, in which case, don’t rinse it!
Chop it up a bit – I find the side of a teaspoon in a bowl works very well, but a small paring knife on a chopping board would also do the job. Finely chop your onion and mix it in, and add the cream cheese (or mayo) and give it all a good thorough mix until it’s nice and creamy. Add the lemon juice and beat it in, and season to taste.
Pop it into a jar or container in the fridge until you want to eat it – it’s better slightly chilled, but it sometimes never makes it that far in my house…
Prices based on my most recent Sainsburys shop: 125g tin of Basics herring roe, £1.35. Basics soft cheese 75p/300g. Basics onions 95p/1.5kg. Bottled lemon juice 55p/250ml.
Jack Monroe. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MsJackMonroe and find me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack
This blog is free to read and always will be. I wrote some recipe books too, and they’re available to buy at Hive Stores, supporting your local independent book shops. Some of the profits from A Girl Called Jack recently went on a VERY big food shop, restocking a local food bank who had run out of food, so if you can afford to, you get a cookbook, I make a living, and hungry families get fed too. Check it out at http://www.hive.co.uk/book/a-girl-called-jack-100-delicious-budget-recipes/18105011/