This recipe from Madalene Bonvini-Hamel makes the most of August's midsummer bounty. For more seasonal recipes, see our Flavours of August article.
INGREDIENTS (Serves six)
For the herring escabèche • 6 herring fillets, pinbones removed
• ½ bulb fennel, finely sliced
• 1 onion, finely sliced
• 1 carrot, finely sliced
• 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
• 2 star anise
• Pinch of saffron
• 3tbs olive oil
• 1tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
• Maldon sea salt
• 1tsp caster sugar
• 1 sprig summer savory
• 1 bay leaf
• 75ml cider vinegar
• 200ml white wine
For the pickled green beans • 300g green beans, sliced
• 115ml malt vinegar
• 2tsp curry powder
• 1tsp turmeric
• 115g light brown sugar
• 115g onions, diced
• 1tsp salt
• Freshly cracked black pepper
• 1tbs corn flour
• 1tsp Coleman's English mustard powder
• 10g golden syrup
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
Prepare the fish: remove the pinbones, wash and pat dry. Cut the herrings into the desired sizes and lightly score the skin.
Place the herrings in a wide, shallow container and glaze the fish with half the olive oil. Add the bay leaf and summer savory and set aside for later.
Heat a medium saucepan and toast the coriander seeds and star anise in it. Remove from the heat.
Return the pan to the heat with the remaining oil and sweat the onions, fennel, garlic, carrot and toasted spices until it turns transparent and colourless. Lightly season and add the sugar and saffron.
Add the white wine and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
Season the herrings with the Maldon sea salt and ladle the pickling liquid over. Let the herrings cool completely. It's best to leave them in the fridge for 12 hours for the flavour to develop.
Pickled green beans
Top and tail the beans and slice on an angle.
Bring the salted water to a boil in a large saucepan and blanch the beans for 1 minute. Refresh in icy cold water.
In a separate medium saucepan mix the malt vinegar and cornflour till smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the refreshed blanched beans and bring the mixture back to the boil for 1 minute.
Transfer the pickled beans to a sterilised clean container. Cool and refrigerate. Refrigerated, they will keep for up to two months, if unopened.
Serve the herring escabèche and pickled green beans on a plate. Garnish the plate with some of the pickling vegetables and juices and add a few sprigs of watercress.