Baked Herring with Toasted Chickpeas, Chilli and Rocket Pesto

For a simple supper with a special touch, Alex Mackay rustles up baked herring, golden crisp chickpeas and a sensational rocket pesto
By Alex Mackay
Baked Herring with Toasted Chickpeas, Chilli and Rocket Pesto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the rocket pesto

  • 50 g rocket
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 30 g pine kernels
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper

For the herring

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • 150 g rocket, roughly chopped
  • 12 herring fillets

For the chickpeas

  • 400 g tinned chickpeas, drained and dried
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.

2. To make the rocket pesto, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch the rocket leaves for 30 seconds. Refresh in cold water, squeeze dry and place in a food processor.

3. Add the grated Parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil and seasoning and whiz until the mixture becomes a coarsely textured paste.

4. For the herring, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic over a gentle heat until softened.

5. Add the rocket, increase the heat and cook for 1 minute, until just wilted. Season well and spoon the mixture onto a baking tray in 4 circular heaps.

6. Top each with 3 fillets of herring, season well and pour over the remaining olive oil. Bake for 5-7 minutes. While the herring is in the oven, cook the chickpeas.

7. For the chickpeas, heat a frying pan with the vegetable oil and fry the chickpeas for a couple of minutes until golden and crisp. Add the chopped chilli and season well.

8. Carefully transfer the herring and rocket to 4 warmed dinner plates and serve immediately, surrounded by the chickpeas and topped with the rocket pesto.

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