Saturday, 4 May 2013


What is a Kipper?

Whilst you are all deliberating the answer I wish to digress and explain some of the enclosed photographs.

I've recently come across a useful tip whilst filleting fish and I would like to share it with you; By placing your wet slippery fish onto a green plastic doormat like this one (cost £5.00), you'll find that the mat grips the fish from the underside whilst you do the filleting safely, not only that the mat can be placed into your dishwasher for cleaning and eh presto! You have a clean work surface and a mat that can be cleaned easily along with your knives.

As you can see above I prefer to use a steak knife to fillet my salmon as I like to use a knife where I can see the tip of the blade at all times. I do have a very good fish filleting knife and I would use that on smaller fish such as Trout or Mackerel etc. This technique is useful for beginners as they too can see the blade beyond the belly of the fish and whilst they listen & feel for the middle section of the blade to run along the backbone of the fish (sounding like a child running past school railings with a stick in their hand is how I describe it).

Anyone tell me what a Kipper is yet?

In these pictures you can see some past course students accomplishing the preparation of a salmon ready for making a Gravlax. A salmon has a 10 day shelf life from the day it was culled, it yields two thirds, for example; a 3kg salmon will give you two fillets weighing a kilo each whilst the carcass a kilo in weight can be used for stock and you can also use the cheeks for little appetisers. Remember to run a dessert spoon down the filleted carcass as this will easily retrieve any unharvested flesh which you can use as tartare or as pate etc. Don't forget to pin bone the fillets!

Here we have the Gravlax that has been cured for 5 days with salt & sugar 50/50 (using anything up to 100grams per kilo of salmon depending on your own personal taste) along with some vodka and dill. Use as much dill as you like it won't spoil the finished product (by the way gravlax means to bury your salmon in a grave).

Try wherever possible to carve / slice the salmon towards the tail at about a 20 degree angle as this will offer you the best finish.

I like my salmon cured & smoked before being wrapped around asparagus, where I can use them to dip into dairy based flavoured dips. Sometimes I make a pate and use it as a filling for a Salmon Timbale and serve it with brown toast and a fresh cucumber salad.


I can hear some of you answering a kipper is a herring, in fact most of you are responding with the same answer, some of you have said a kipper is a smoked mackerel. None of you are right so far, surprised ? confused?

Ah, I hear someone say a Kipper is a technique not a fish, almost right with that answer, well done if you too said that.

Those of you who know me will know that when I start a class I'm always found saying the clues are always in the classroom.

Did you know salmon skin is the second strongest natural fibre in the world and that in Scandinavia this by-product is used to make shoes, bikinis and even mobile phone covers.

Time for the answer! What is a Kipper? I can tell you that a male salmon that has returned and reached freshwater in order to spawn and having been at sea is called a Kipper. Yes this is true, the cock salmon would be in poor condition as they would have used their fat reserves to reach these spawning grounds. Man would kill these cock salmon split them open through the back and butterfly them for curing and smoking in order to preserve them. This technique took the name Kipper from the cock salmon and thus the filleting and preserving name along with the technique was adopted to other fish including the Herring. Today and for many years the Herring has been preserved in this way and they are often referred to as Kippers and found commonly on many breakfast menu (I bet you never knew that did you?).

I also would like to share with you my favourite salmon farmer producer-supplier. The salmon are killed and despatched to order so remaining fresh for the optimum time giving you a prime product to work with. They come packed in the usual coolbox covered in ice as you come to expect, however they also come with an outer wooden box which not only protects their delivery, you can recycle the box for such things as raised bed boxes for the growing of herbs or you can use the wood to fuel your fish smoker and if you have a smokehouse you could break the panelled boxes down and use them as decorative wall panels.
Winter Red Cabbage

I'll leave it to you to decide but do take a look at Scotland's smallest salmon Farmer and use them if you can...

I hoped you have enjoyed this little salmon blog as I have...

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