Smoky, salty, and of course, a little fishy, it took me a while to get used to the flavor and mouthfeel of kippers.
Even now, that first bite is always accompanied by the slightest hesitation and hope that it’s not all going to “horribly wrong” once I’ve taken that bite. To date, each bite has been good enough to follow up with another and now I actually eat kippers at least once a week. My favorite go to is kippers on a bed of arugula with some avocado. If there is a really nice, crusty sourdough hanging around that may be the foundation.
Salting or pickling and then cold smoking is the process involved in turning a herring into a kipper. In fact, the process of salting and preserving food, especially fish is called ‘kippering’.
From a culinary perspective, kippers can be eaten in any way you might eat any other smoked or cured fish. They fit in at breakfast, lunch, or dinner and even as a snack.
From a health perspective, herring is a small, oily cold water fish so it is an excellent source of healthy fatty acids and other good minerals and vitamins without being too impacted by heavy metals and other toxins that tend to be found in abundance in larger oily fish. Eating the whole kipper (which is about 4-6 oz) including their small bones will provide you with more calcium than a cup of milk and also a nice, healthy dose of Vitamins D and B.
Enjoying a serving or two of cold, oily fish, like kippers, at least twice a week will supply you with the recommended dose of essential fatty acids as well as ton of other nutrients that you can’t get from a supplement. I recommend getting a scrumptious freshly baked loaf of hearty sourdough bread, still warm if possible, layering it with arugula and avocado, then adding the kippers and voila’, you have a truly delicious palate satisfying meal.
The only caveat: choose sustainably harvested, naturally processed, in bpa free cans if you are eating kipper snacks, otherwise, you end up with plenty of chemicals and additives that you didn't bargain for and the health benefits are decreased substantially.