Are you a smoked fish fan? Me too! Smoked salmon is a popular option for breakfast that is richly textured and deeply flavorful. Smoked kippers bring that same smoky fish energy and, when paired with a crispy potato rösti, they are perfect protein for your brunch menu!
Kipper fillets are hot smoked herring fish. Herring is a sustainable fish and an iconic British breakfast dish. Growing up in the midwest United States, I didn't know the United Kingdom already laid claim to this lovely smoked fish. My mom was a big fan of all things herring, so they were quite a treat in my house.
As a (kind of) grown up now, smoked herring has become one of my favorite types of fish, especially for a fancy kippers breakfast.
The smoking process leaves the kipper fillets a pale copper color. The smoky white fish is a lovely pairing with this crispy potato cake and the horseradish creme fraiche. I love to serve this brunch superstar with soft boiled quail eggs, but a regular poached egg or even buttery scrambled eggs would also be delicious.
Let's brew some tea, whip up a quintessential British breakfast food, and raise the Union Jack, friends.
Keep calm and Kipper on!
What you'll need to make a really good kippers breakfast:
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Clarified butter or ghee
- Kippers fillets
- Quail eggs
- Red onion
- Fresh chives
- Creme fraiche
- Dijon mustard
Full measurements and directions included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions:
To begin, make the horseradish creme fraiche. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Next, prepare the potato rösti. Shred your potatoes and use your hands or a tea towel to squeeze out any excess liquid.
Combine the shredded potatoes with 2 tablespoons of melted clarified butter or ghee, along with the salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss to coat thoroughly.
Melt 1 tablespoon of clarified butter or ghee in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Turn the shredded and seasoned potatoes out into the pan, gently pushing the shreds out to the edges of the pan evenly, but without packing down the potato cake. I use a fork to do this to keep the cake fluffy. It will compress naturally as it cooks.
Turn the heat to medium-low, and let the rösti cook for 8-10 minutes. Use a fork to gently lift the edges periodically to check the browning progress. You really want to be sure it’s a deep golden brown before flipping. Using a cutting board with a handle, flip the potato rösti out of the pan so the uncooked side is face down on the board. Return the skillet to the burner and melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of clarified butter or ghee. Slide the rösti back into the pan and cook for another 10 minutes, until deeply golden brown.
While the rösti is crisping, prepare the toppings. Thinly slice red onion and fresh radishes. Dice chives. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus spears into ribbons. Microwave for 30 seconds. Squeeze a half lemon over the asparagus and season with a sprinkle of salt. Set aside.
Heat your kippers fillet according to package directions (for frozen kippers fillets, this usually involves dropping the entire package into boiling water for 12-14 minutes). I usually scrape off the skin side of the fillet, but this is more for looks than flavor.
Once the rösti is golden brown on each side, slide it out of the pan onto your serving tray or board. Spread a few tablespoons of horseradish cream and then top with kippers fillets. You can flake the fillets into bite-sized pieces or leave whole. Arrange ribbons of fresh asparagus, rings of red onion and wafers of radishes. Slice your soft boiled eggs and arrange. Finally, sprinkle with fresh diced chives.
Serve immediately with lemon slices and additional horseradish cream.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
Ghee (clarified butter) is the best option when making a rosti because the milk solids have been removed from the butter, making it very hard to burn the butter. Since you have a longer cook time on the potato pancake, we need a fat that will stand up to the extended cook time. If you want to use regular butter, I recommend unsalted butter to control the sodium level in the dish, as kippers are already richly seasoned. Second, be extra vigilant about the heat level on your burner and err on the side of low heat rather than burning. Same for olive oil, which is not a high-heat fat.
Whole herring have small bones that are edible, much like anchovies. Flaking the fish allows you to separate the flesh from the hair-like vertebrae and serve fewer bones.
Herring, like anchovies, sardines and mackerel, are small, fattier fish full of omega-3 fatty acids. These small oily fish are wildly popular in Portugal and many other countries, but have never gained widespread appreciation in the US, where large whitefish fillets and no bones are prized attributes for seafood. But herring is protein rich and nutrient dense, as well as one of the most sustainable fish available. And it's freaking delicious!
You have multiple options. I buy smoked herring that has been cut into fillets, vacuum-packed and frozen with a knob of butter in the package. You drop the entire package into a pot of boiling water until heated through. Then cut open the package and serve. In some shops, you can buy the whole kipper that has been cut butterfly fashion and smoked. These smaller fish are usually ready to serve. Kippers can also be purchased in cans. I find canned fatty fish to be deeply flavorful and the shelf stable factor is another bonus. Any of these options work in this recipe.
Certainly! Fresh dill would be lovely with the smoked fish. If you can't find fresh chives, diced spring onion is a good substitute.
To store, keep the potato cake in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It's best to only dress the rösti you intend to eat, as reheating it will work best without toppings.
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