This herring recipe comes from Salvatore Tassa, head chef of Le Colline Ciociare, Acuto, Italy.
- 1 herring in 2 fillets, about 140g filleted weight
- Smoked salt
- Herbs (rosemary, thyme and marjoram sprigs, mint, vine pruning)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 citrus leaf
- Fresh herbs to sprinkle over the fillets
- 250ml water
- 250g sugar
- Lemon balm leaves
Trim the fillets and remove any larger bones still left in them. Place all the herbs in a saucepan. Heat the pan until they start smoking. Lay the fillets, flesh side down, on a bay leaf and citrus leaf above the smoking herbs.
Leave it for 20 seconds and cover the pan with a lid. Turn off the heat and leave it for one minute or so; enough time to cook and aromatise the fish.
To make lemon balm syrup put the water and sugar in a pan, bring to the boil, stirring, and dissolve the sugar. Add lemon balm leaves to taste. Cool and strain the syrup. Flavour, texture and sweetness can be adjusted by reducing the syrup.
Place the fillets on a plate, seasoning them with smoked salt and fresh herbs. Accompany with the lemon balm syrup.
Salvatore Tassa serves this dish with mountain potatoes that are cooked with chicken stock and lemon balm. When he demonstrated it at Identita Golose in Milan last week, the fish was garnished with truffle, as it is in season.