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Cumberland Stuffed Herrings with Mustard Sauce

Mustard sauce makes a good accompaniment to the oily flesh of herrings and English mustard has the 'bite' needed to make a good contrast with the rich fish. If herrings are unobtainable, you can use small mackerel or if only large fish of either type are available, serve each person a half.

ingredients

serves 4
4 herrings with roe or small mackerel, each weighing about 225 g (8 oz), head and fins removed and cleaned
300 ml (1/2 pint) fresh milk
25 g (1 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
1 small onion, skinned and finely chopped
salt and pepper
25 g (1 oz) butter
45 ml (3 tbsp) plain flour
5 ml (1 tsp) prepared English mustard
5 ml (1 tsp) white wine vinegar

method

1. Put the roes in a small saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the milk. Finely chop the roes.

2. Open out the fish on a board, inner side down, and press lightly down the middle to loosen the backbone. Gently ease the backbone away.

3. Mix together the breadcrumbs and onion and add the chopped roes. Season to taste and spread on open herrings. Fold herrings over to enclose the stuffing.

4. Cover and bake at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for 20 minutes, until tender.

5. Meanwhile, put the butter, the flour and the reserved milk in a saucepan. Heat, whisking continuously, until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth. Simmer for 1 - 2 minutes. Stir in mustard and vinegar, adjust seasoning and serve with herrings.

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