Fifty Grigsons Young – Kipper Paste

I didn’t realise that the kipper paste was my 50th Grigson recipe; if I had been on the ball, I would have done a feast. Never mind – when it’s the hundredth I’ll do something special.

I chose to do cook with kippers because not enough people eat things like kippers these days, and I hoped maybe people may be inspired to cook with them now I have. I remember thinking how foul they smelt as a kid when my mum used to eat them, but then when I tasted one, I couldn’t believe how sweet and piquant they were with out being horribly fishy. Also, kippers are cheap – even good quality ones should only cost about a quid each. Jane only has one proper kipper recipe, and it is kipper paste, a real Seventies dinner-party staple. I’d never had it, but I like that kind on thing.

Here’s what I did:

I covered the kippers with boiling hot water straight from the kettle and let them poach in the residual heat for 10 minutes. Next the skin and bones were taken off. This is not as laborious as it sounds; the fish is made up of longitudinal muscles, so you can peel strips of, as it were, and take the bones out as you go (you don’t need to removed the very thin hair-like bones – you wouldn’t ever notice they were there). These were allowed to cool slightly and weighed so than an equal weight of soft butter could be measured – it seems that one kipper equals around 100 grams. These were then carefully beaten in the food processor along with pepper, a little salt, some cayenne pepper and ground mace. Then the juice of half a lemon and a couple of table spoons of whipped cream were quickly mixed in (taste at this point – you might want more spices: they do make all the difference). The mixture was spooned into ramekins and a layer of clarified butter was poured over, and the whole thing was set in the fridge. Serve with toasted brown bread.

FYI: the kipper is the most recent of the cured fishes – fish were not split before hot-smoking, but left whole. All this was first done by a chap called Woodger in Northumberland. However, I happen to know that the best kippers can be bought in Whitby. However, because of stupid EU regulations, they cannot be posted to you, so you’ll have to simply drive there!

#50 Kipper Paste: 8/10. This dish should totally have a come-back. It is sweet and light, yet rich and salty. Really nice proper food. Go uot and buy some kippers this instant

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