Herring Roes on Toast

This is my old standby and one of my favorite savories. It’s not so often seen nowadays. I can’t think why. It’s very cheap, too.


  • Soft herring or shad roes, about 4 per person
  • All-purpose flour
  • Thin slices of bacon
  • Hot toast
  • Gentlemen’s Relish or anchovy paste
  • Butter
  • Sunflower oil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Minced parsley
  • Lemons


Get fine fresh, plump roes. Wash them under hot running water; this will remove the slime and stiffen them up. Drain and pat dry on paper towels. Put enough flour in a plastic bag to coat them, then gently shake the roes to coat all over. Remove from the bag, shake off excess flour, and lay them on some wax paper.

Cook the bacon until brittle. Have ready some hot toast spread with Gentlemen’s Relish or anchovy paste.

Melt the butter with a slug of oil in a good heavy frying pan. When it is just sizzling, put in the roes and cook gently until golden brown on both sides. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on some paper towels. (If you are dealing with more than one panful, keep the cooked roes warm in a low oven.)

Pile the roes onto the toasts and sprinkle with cayenne pepper and a touch of salt. Crumble the bacon over the top and strew with chopped parsley. Serve with wedges of lemon to squeeze over them.