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Smoked herring

By March 13, 2020 , ,

I could call this recipe kippers, but the way they fillet the herring over here in the Netherlands is completely different to traditional kipper style. Traditional kipper is split butterfly style and often the head and tail is left on. Dutch herring is filleted with the head removed and the tail is left on, so that it can be eaten Dutch style, which is holding it by the tail and dangling it over your mouth as you eat it, normally raw.

If you are intending to smoke fish then you will need some preparation time ahead of the actual smoke itself. You'll need to salt or brine the fish to cure it and add flavour and then once cured you'll need to wash the cure off and then allow to dry so that it forms a pellicule (a dry film which helps the smoking process and gives a more even smoke). When smoking the time will vary depending on how big the piece of fish is, so keep checking as you are smoking to see how the flavour is developing.

Once smoked the fish will keep for up to 14 days in the fridge or freezes quite nicely for later use.

1 herring per person
20g salt
A cold smoking kit or table top smoker
Your choice of wood smoking dust (not wood chips), I used maple for this recipe, beech, apple or oak are also good. Be careful with oak as it will give a pretty strong flavour.

Sprinkle the herring with salt and place in a dish in the fridge for 2 hours
After 2 hours wash the salt off the fish and pat dry, place back in the fridge for another 2-3 hours to air dry and form a pellicule

Now you are ready to smoke
Light the wood dust in your cold smoke generator, give it a while until it starts smoking, you do not want it burning and place in your smoker
I smoked my fish for 2 hours and got a nice subtle smoky hit without it being too overpowering, you can keep going longer if you prefer a stronger smoky flavour

I like to pan fry the herring fillets for a couple of minutes each side in butter with lemon juice
It makes a nice brunch dish

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