This post has been sponsored by Little Northern Bakehouse. All opinions expressed are my own.
Today we’re preparing a delightfully simple kipper salad.
The kippers are the star of the today’s show. Plump, oily, and satisfying, with a flavor that’s equal parts fish, smoke, and nuttiness, along with just a hint of brine, kippers have made a roaring comeback over the last decade or so – and for good reason. They’re delicious, and make for a great and hardy breakfast, or a pleasantly light lunch.
As a nice bonus, kippers are super simple to prepare, and surprisingly versatile. You can mash them up into a salad, as we’re doing today, make them with eggs, pan fry them, set them over a green salad, or eat them straight from the tin.
Below, we’ll be talking a little about the kippers themselves. After that, I’ll be providing you with an ingredient checklist, and then offering you with a few more delicious salad recipes.
Kippers – What are they?
The short answer: Butterflied herring, which has been gutted and then either salted or pickled, before being smoked over wood chips – usually oak.
The more in-depth Answer: To start off, the word ‘kipper’ does not refer to a fish ‘Kipper’ is instead a method of preparation – that is, ‘kippering.’
This preparation method involves cutting a herring (or any other oily fish) in half from the head to tail – butterflying it. The fish is then gutted, salted or picked, and then smoked low and slow over smoldering wood chips. The more oily the fish, more flavorful the ‘kippered’ fish becomes courtesy of this cooking method. Naturally, herring makes for the perfect candidate – especially when one considers the historical context in which this became popular.
In 19th century England, the kippering of herring spread throughout the middle class like wildfire. This was particularly true among low to middle income urban dwellers. Herring was cheap and widely available, and its oily composition made it a perfect match for the (equally cheap) kippering method. This kippering method also served to preserve the fish, meaning it could be shipped inland in an age where refrigeration was still severely limited. As such, kippers became a staple of middle income fare across the British Isles.
In this context, kippers were most often eaten for breakfast. They would later also be served with high tea, or with supper.
The kipper ‘craze’ lasted – in various forms – for about a century. After WWII, the craze began to die down, until fading away almost completely towards the end of the 1960s. Kippers, along with other forms of preserved fish such as mackerel and sardines, came to be seen as old fashioned.
Indeed, canned fish, with the notable exception of tuna, all but vanished from the public culinary spotlight.
This exile would last some four to five decades.
By about 2012, spurred on by the foodie revolution, and health-conscious eating becoming trendy, canned fish, kippers included, roared back into the mainstream – and there they have remained ever since.
Ingredient Checklist – The Salad
- Kippers. We’re using kippers as the ‘meat’ of today’s salad. However, today’s recipe also works great with either mackerel or sardines.
- Celery. For a bit of crunch and color.
- Fresh Lemon Juice. This is one instance where I really do suggest opting for freshly squeezed lemon juice, as it works much, much better with the fish than bottled.
- Mayo. Plain, whole-fat mayo is what you’re looking for.
- Black Pepper. I would strongly suggest using fresh ground black pepper. If you really want to get fancy, consider grinding the pepper in a mortar and pestle for added aroma and pungency.
Ingredient Checklist – The Garnish
Everything in this checklist is purely optional, as it is either garnish, or used in constructing the sandwiches – which you can make entirely to your preference.
- Bagels. I’m using gluten free everything bagels courtesy of Little Northern Bakehouse.
- Red Onion. I’m using red onion for a bit of color. Sweet onion would be the best substitute, but ‘any’ type of onion would work. Yes, these are used at a one-to-one ratio in place of the red onion.
- Cucumber. For garnish and texture.
- Olives. I’m using Kalamata for today’s salad, but really you could substitute in anything you have on hand – including basic canned black olives.
- Tomatoes. Your preferred type of tomato for the sandwich.
- Avocado. For added texture and color, and simply because these complement the kippers deliciously.
- Lemon Wedges. Garnish. Plain and simple.
More Salad Favorites
- Layered Eggplant Salad. Breaded eggplant, combined with fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, and grated romaine, combine to create a delicious take on baked eggplant that’s sure to be a hit with your friends and family.
- Mediterranean Orange Salad. A super simple orange salad, which combines sliced oranges tossed with cilantro, grilled jalapenos and honey, capers and scallions, creating a medley of savory umami notes set against a sweet and spicy backdrop.
- Moroccan Tomato Salad. A surprise hit with my family, this Moroccan tomato salad is so simple, and yet so delicious, that it instantly won a place in my heart.
- Crisp Cucumber Salad. Crisp, refreshing, and taking just minutes to prepare while featuring a medley of Mediterranean flavors, this salad is perfect for adding a touch of ‘simple elegance’ to any meal.
As an Amazon Associate I earn a small commission from any purchases made through the affiliate links within this post. For more information on this please see our disclosure policy. Thank you!11