This recipe for oatmeal crust herring makes a nice crunchy exterior round the soft herring, while the mustard sauce provides the perfect counterpoint to the rich, oily fish.

This is a very quick meal to make, allow about 30 minutes for preparation and cooking time. The ingredients below will serve 4 people.

Ingredients For Oatmeal Crust Herring

4  large herrings filleted (two fillets per person)
115g  medium or pinhead oatmeal (NOT porridge oats!)
Chunky sea salt and black pepper
a little milk
sunflower oil, for frying

For the mustard sauce (makes 600ml/1 pint)

600 ml (1 pint) milk
2 bay leaves
1 blade of mace
½ raw onion
40g butter
30g flour
2-3 x 15ml spoon (2-3 tablespoons) wholegrain or Dijon mustard
3 x 15ml spoon (3 tablespoons) chopped fresh parsley
freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and black pepper

Cooking Method For Oatmeal Crust Herring

To make the mustard sauce: heat the milk until just under boiling point with the bay leaves, blade of mace and the raw onion. Leave to infuse for 20 minutes then strain.

Melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan. Add the flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir over the heat for about 2-3 minutes, until it turns a sandy brown colour. Take off the heat and using a wire whisk, whisk in the milk all in one go. Make sure it is well blended and cooked through.

Stir in the mustard and parsley, taste and season with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover the surface with cling film put t o one side and keep warm.

Season the oatmeal well. Dip the herring in a little milk then dip the fish in the oatmeal to coat both sides. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the fish skin-side uppermost, turning once until lightly browned and crisp on each side – about 5 minutes in all.

Serve immediately with the mustard sauce and some crumbly boiled potatoes with plenty of chopped parsley.