A rollmop is traditionally a pickled herring that is rolled up, usually around a pickled cucumber or onion, secured with a toothpick and eaten as an appetiser or as part of a light meal.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (24 votes)


Pickled fish

  • 1 litre water
  • 1 litre white wine vinegar
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 6 thyme sprigs 
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 12 small king george whiting fillets 


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp grain mustard
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 2½ tbsp cream
  • salt and pepper

Beetroot compote

  • 4 onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 medium beetroots, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 200 ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds


  • watercress sprigs, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need to begin this recipe two days ahead.

To make the pickled fish, place the water, vinegar, sugar, seeds and herbs in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool (to speed the cooling process you could pour the liquid into a large bowl).

To prepare the fish, trim the edges if needed so the fillets are more or less an even width. Place the fish skin-side down and roll up from the tail end. Pierce each roll with a sturdy toothpick to hold it in place and add to the cool pickling liquid. Leave the fish to pickle in the refrigerator for 1–2 days.

To make the dressing, whisk the egg yolks, mustard and vinegar in a bowl and gradually whisk in the oils as if making a mayonnaise. Thin out with a little pickling liquid if necessary. Finally whisk in the cream and season to taste.

To make the beetroot compote, sweat the onions and garlic in a little olive oil, seasoning well. When very soft and starting to colour, add the beetroot, vinegar and mustard seeds. Cook until the beetroot is al dente. Use more oil as required to prevent sticking. Leave to cool.

Serve the rollmops with the beetroot compote, dressing and fresh watercress.