A kipper is a herring which has been split open, salted and smoked. The process was invented in the nineteenth century by a man called Woo’dger, who applied an existing technique for smoking salmon to the herring.
Kippers are traditionally eaten in Britain for breakfast, but they also make an excellent supper snack. They may be grilled – which is thought to be the best way to cook them – baked, fried or poached. If they are very salty, they may be left in boiling water for 2 minutes before cooking, but this is not usually necessary.
To grill kippers, brush them with a little melted butter and grill under moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until the outsides are dark brown and crisp.
To bake kippers, place them in an ovenproof dish and cover with grease-proof or waxed paper. Bake them for 15 minutes in a fairly hot oven 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200SC).
Kippers may be fried in a little butter for 4 to 5 minutes on each side over moderate heat, or until the outsides are brown and crisp.
Kippers may also be poached by placing them in a bowl, covering them with boiling water and leaving them for 10 to 15 minutes.
The flesh of the kipper may also be well seasoned, pounded with butter and made into an excellent pate or sandwich spread.