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Herring in Oatmeal with Gooseberry Sauce

Updated February 23, 2016
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A traditional British dish that could also be made in the summer with bluefish fillets and gooseberries in season

Freezing Information: gooseberry sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months

Good with steamed or boiled new potatoes and a mixed salad.

Makes4 servings

Preparation Time10 min

Preparation Time - Text10 mins

Cooking Time25 min

Cooking Time - Text25

Cooking Methodbroiling

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer

Dietary Considerationappetizer

Equipmentfood processor

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturesavory, tart

Ingredients

  • 12 oz (350g) gooseberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar, or more to taste
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 herring, cleaned and fins trimmed
  • 1 cup steel-cut oatmeal

Instructions

Prepare ahead

The sauce can be made several hours in advance.

To make the sauce: Cook the gooseberries with 2 tbsp water in a saucepan over medium heat for 4–5 minutes, until tender. Purèe in a food processor, then add the butter, sugar, and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Cut the heads off the herring and slit them open along the belly right down to the tail. Open the fish out flat and place them skin side up on a cutting board. Bone each fish into a "butterfly" by pressing firmly all along the backbone with the heel of your palm until it is completely flat, then turn it over and pull away the backbone, snipping it off at the tail end with scissors. Remove any small bones left behind in the fish with a pair of tweezers. Alternatively, fillet the herrings.

Spread the oatmeal on a large plate and season generously with salt and pepper. Coat the herrings in the oatmeal, pressing it well onto the fish.

Position a broiler rack 6in (15cm) from the source of heat and preheat the broiler. Arrange the herring in a broiler pan. Broil for 6–8 minutes, turning once, until the flesh looks opaque when flaked. Serve with the gooseberry sauce.

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