A kipper is a small, oily whole herring fish which has been slit from head to tail, gutted, brined or pickled and treated to cold smoke, which is most commonly eaten in certain North American regions and the United Kingdom as grilled for breakfast. Generally kippers are boneless or block fillets of fatty herring fish and the fat content goes a long way in the determination of the quality of the kipper, which most recommended by the kipper recipesfor better taste of the dishes. Often, kipper is dyed with an edible rich mahogany color as its color fades post smoking. The mild smoky flavor of the fish makes it a popular addition in different dishes and some of the well known kipper recipesare kipper in lemon dressing, kipper in mushroom salad and jugged kippers.
History of Kipper
The kipper terminology traces its origin in “küppen,” the Dutch word for “spawning” and the kipper method was first applied to an out-of-season salmon to make it more palatable even when it lacked fat. References to “Kipper time” have been recorded to as far as the fourteenth century in connection with fishery for the Thames salmon. The Kippered herrings, much common in the modern world, are thought to have been first made in the early half of the 19th century, when Seahouses in Northumberland’s John Woodger made kippers during the 1840s by dry salting spilt herrings and heavily smoking the fishes in brick kiln for several days.
However, with the advent of refrigeration and better transportation facilities, heavy salting and smoking became lesser practiced to prevent the spoilage of the fishes during distribution. Modern day kipper is lightly brined and lightly smoked and can be stored at room temperature but with an expected shorter shelf life.
Culinary Uses of Kippered Herring
Kipper can be used in different preparations as suggested by different kipper recipesand so finding the fish in grilled, jugged, roasted, fried or boiled forms is common. Kipper snacks are commercially sold precooked kipper herrings which are ready to eat, unless one prefers to use the fish in other dishes.
Popular Kipper Recipes
Here are some of the popular dishes made with kipper herrings –
Kippers in lemon dressing – This is a popular starter for summer lunches made by grilling the lemon and spice marinated kipper and served with lemon butter dotted all over the fillet and lemon wedge garnish.
Kipper and Mushroom Salad – This is one of the most common kipper recipes, which includes the marinating of the fillets and mushrooms in a mixture of red pepper, lemon juice, Tabasco, oil and seasonings and chilling them in a refrigerator.
Kipper Flan – For this dish, the boiled and flaked kipper fillets are cooked in a mixture of margarine, flour, milk, sauce, lemon juice, eggs, seasonings and sage and then, baked.
Kipper Recipesin World Cuisine
In the United Kingdom, kipper is eaten for breakfast or dinner and sometimes as an accompaniment to tea as well. In the United States, where homemade kipper recipes aren’t as common, kipper snacks are much preferred. In Haiti, kipper with scrambled eggs or with rice or pasta is a popular entrée for breakfast. In British cuisine, kipper recipeshave a special place, especially in the local cuisine of the Isle of Man, where the two kipper houses Devereau and Son and Moore's Kipper Yard produce and export thousands of smoked kippers.
Cooking Methods Suggested In Kipper Recipes
Frying, baking, broiling and barbecuing are some of the common methods used in the preparation ofkipper dishes.
Nutritive Value of Kippers
The fish is a very rich source of Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, protein, iodine and niacin with fair natural contents of nutrients like sodium, iron, calcium and fat.
Kipper Buying and Storing Tips
While buying kipper, one should look out for a firm and springy dark reddish meat with a glossy oil surface on the undamaged slit surface of the fish which should be without any black smuts, sliminess, green discolorations or odors.
Kippercan be stored frozen for long term use although in practice quick freezing is most preferred for storing the fishes within a temperature range of 0 to -5°C only for a few hours, retaining them in the freezer until the warmest part chills down to -20°C. The fishes should be frozen the soonest they are cooled after being smoked in kilns. When cold stored at 0°C, kipper stays fresh for consumption for 2-3 days, which becomes 4 to 6 days, 3 weeks and 3months when stored at -10°C, -20°C and -30°C respectively while a vacuum packed kipper can last for more than a year.
Kipper is also often known as “red herring” although very strong curing can only yield a true red kipper.