Pronounce it: kip-perh
The balance of the oily herring flavour, salt and smoke is undoubtedly best in freshly made kippers from one of the few remaining centres of excellence – from the Isle of Man or Craster particularly. Provided the herrings have been naturally smoked and are a pale colour they can be excellent at other times of the year if frozen or vacuum-packed in season.
First check your ventilation. If yours is not super-efficient forget any idea of grilling your kippers as you will live with the smell for the rest of the day – or more. Grilling must be done to the second or you'll dry the succulent flesh by losing the essential oils. You will also concentrate the flavour, which is not to everyone’s taste.
Kippers need very little cooking and their moisture content is best preserved by gently poaching for not more than a few minutes and then letting them sit off the heat but in the water until needed. The method that creates the least invasive smells is to boil a large frying pan of water, remove it from the heat, add the kippers and then leave for five or more minutes, drain and serve. If there are just a few of you, jugging is the most impressive way. For this you pour boiling or very hot water into a suitable deep jug and then add the kippers head down. Take this to the table and after ten minutes or so, withdraw them, drain on a warm plate and then serve.
Soft, creamy and very buttery scrambled eggs make a great accompaniment, but so do softly poached eggs, especially if cooked in the kipper water.
Each ounce of kippers provide an average of 62 calories, 7 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat and no carbohydrate. The size of a kipper can vary between 0.7 ounces for a small one, 1.3 ounces for a medium one and just over 2 ounces for a large one. Eating two to eight kippers, depending on their size, or about 3 to 6 ounces, is sufficient to meet your protein requirements for a meal.
All the best Jan