Cured Fish

Fish used to be cured at home, in salt, vinegar or by smoking, as a method of preservation when fresh food was not available.

You may still pickle fish: keep it in the refrigerator and use within a few days. A hot smoker adds flavour but does not preserve the food: cold smoking preserves the fish. It is possible to build a cold smoker at home, but you need specialist advice.

Anchovy Small, silvery fish, often used in savouries, pizzas and salads, anchovies are most often bought cured and canned in oil.

Smoked cod’s roe You will find it in delicatessens and fishmonger’s shops. Use it to make taramasalata, a Greek hors d’oeuvre.

Smoked haddock Arbroath smokies are small haddock, smoked to a dark golden brown. Spread them with butter, grill or cook in the oven, and eat hot with buttered toast.

Finnan haddock are smoked and pale yellow. To make Kedgeree, for a hearty breakfast or light supper, cook gently in milk and butter. Drain and add boiled, long grain rice and chopped hard-boiled eggs. Add a little more butter, mix well, and season to taste. Serve on a large platter.

Bismarck herring Fillets pickled in spiced vinegar with sliced onion.

Bloater A herring cured in brine, then lightly smoked. Grill or fry.

Buckling A herring which has been smoked and lightly cooked. Eat with brown bread and butter.

Kipper The most popular smoked herring. It can be bought boned, fresh or frozen. Spread with butter and grill.

Rollmop A brined herring fillet, sprinkled with sliced onion, then rolled up and secured with a cocktail stick. Put in a pickling jar, cover with spiced vinegar, sometimes sweetened, with a bay-leaf; keep in a cool place and eat after 5 days.

Smoked mackerel Sold ready to eat. To make a pâté, skin, and pound with soured cream. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Smoked salmon and trout The best of smoked fish, always sold ready to eat. Buy them plump and juicy. When serving, add thinly sliced brown bread, butter, freshly ground black pepper, and wedges of lemon. Horseradish sauce goes well with smoked trout.