Herrings in Oatmeal

Herrings coated in oatmeal used traditionally to be cooked in bacon fat, which gave them a lovely smoky flavour. They are also just as good cooked in a mixture of sunflower oil and butter or in olive oil.


  • 4 whole herrings
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 85–115 g/ 3–4 oz coarse ground oatmeal
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 30 g/ 1 oz butter
  • lemon wedges, to serve


Cut off the heads of the fish and gut them, cutting them open from head to tail. Run your thumbs down the back to detach the spines, then ease these away from the skin and flesh. Use tweezers to pull out as many of the remaining bones as possible.

Beat the egg with some salt and pepper, brush this on both sides of the flattened fish, then lay them in the oatmeal, pressing it in with your fingers.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and fry the fish over a moderate heat for 4 minutes each side.

Serve the fried herring with lemon wedges.