Kippers seem to elicit a love-hate relationship, and it is not hard to see why. It’s often seen as an acquired taste, and many people find it overly fishy. But for those who enjoy an intense, smoky flavor, these salty treats are the true nectar of the gods.
However, they are not easy to cook. If cooked incorrectly, they can become dry and chewy or waterlogged and soggy. Fortunately, I find that microwaving them yields opaque, flaky flesh with a delightful, rich flavor.
Here’s how to microwave kippers.
Carefully peel away the backbone and place the kippers on a microwavable plate. Add a dab of water, season generously with pepper, and cover with a microwavable lid. Microwave for 2-3 minutes on high, flipping the fish halfway through, until fork flakes.
For more insights on microwaved kippers, how long they take to cook, safety precautions, whether they’re nutritious, what to serve them with, and much more, please read on!
Are Kippers Good for You?
Kippers are among the most nutritious fish as they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and have a low-calorie count.
For starters, it is not a true fish species but a smoked Atlantic herring that has been split down and gutted down the back. It is popularly enjoyed in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, where breakfast usually consists of kippers alongside eggs, toast, and tea.
However, I believe kippers’ biggest win is their nutritional content. Besides the salty, smoky flavor, they’re highly valued for their nutritional benefits. For context, on average, kippers provide 7 grams of protein, 3.74 grams of saturated fat, 62 calories per serving, and zero carbs.
As a bonus, they also pack Vitamin D, Calcium, and omega-3 s into every bite. And, if consumed in moderation, they will not negatively affect your cholesterol levels either.
Can You Cook Smoked Kippers in The Microwave?
Although not the preferred cooking method, microwaving kippers is an easy and quick way to make a delicious meal for breakfast or lunch.
However, it is not as easy as tossing them into the microwave and hitting start. Kippers, like other fish, cook quickly, and a second less or more in the microwave can mean all the difference between a perfect moist smoked kipper and a dry overdone one.
As a result, finding a balance between time and power level is crucial when microwaving your kippers. If you overcook them, you may end up with a leathery texture that is unpleasant to eat. On the flip side, undercooked kippers mean a raw mushy texture, posing a food safety risk.
So, what do you do?
I find that microwaving these cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates on high power for short bursts of time yields the best results. This will allow you control over the cooking process while guaranteeing moist, flaky flesh. The key is to stop once they reach a safe internal temperature of 145 ℉.
How Long to Cook Kippers in Microwave?
Due to their delicate nature, kippers require 2-3 minutes to cook in the microwave.
However, cooking time may vary depending on your microwave wattage and the number of kippers you are cooking at once.
For example, I find that 3 minutes is a good ballpark figure for microwaving 1-2 kippers. Increase the cooking time by 30 seconds per additional kipper. On the other hand, an 800 W microwave will take longer than a 1200 W one.
The goal here is not to overcook them. Once slightly flake and opaque, remove from the microwave with oven gloves and let stand for 1-2 minutes before serving.
Are Smoked Kippers Ready to Eat?
Usually, it depends on the smoking technique used. If hot smoked, the kippers are ready to eat straight from the packet. However, if cold-smoked, they must be cooked.
So, what’s the distinction between the two?
While both methods are equally effective at preserving fish, they serve different purposes. Cold smoking only imparts the smoky flavor but doesn’t cook the kipper. On the other hand, hot smoking involves cooking and, at the same time, infusing the kipper with a smoky taste.
As a result, to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, cook your cold smoked delicacy before consuming it. Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve this. You can fry, grill, steam, microwave, or poach them for a pleasantly light yet rich meal.
How Do You Microwave Kippers Without the Smell?
Despite their delicious flavor, kippers have a pungent smell that can be off-putting for some people. However, you can eliminate this issue by tightly wrapping them in a microwavable cling film.
Kippers, like other fish, emit an ammonia-like odor when killed and exposed to air. The smell is best described as fishy or slimy, and it may linger on your microwave for hours before dissipating. Honestly, it is one of the reasons why most people shy away from cooking these delightful little gems.
However, this does not have to be the case.
I find that covering my kippers with a thin layer of cling film reduces the odor substantially. The cling film acts as an impermeable seal, trapping the pesky smell inside and preventing it from escaping into the kitchen. Make sure it’s tight enough to prevent leakage.
Furthermore, avoid microwaving your keepers in poorly ventilated spaces, as this will only exacerbate the problem. Turning on the fan or the exhaust hood and opening windows should all help remove any lingering odors.
How To Microwave Kippers (Step by Step Guide)
Now that we’ve established that, indeed, you can microwave kippers, let me walk you through my step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Place the kippers on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the head and tail. Then, peel away the main backbone or simply make a slit down the center of the keeper-side and lay them out flat like books.
- Place the kippers in a single layer on a microwavable plate to prevent steaming.
- Add one tablespoon of water for every two kippers to prevent the fish from drying out. If you’re anything like me, substitute water with wine, lemon juice, or olive oil for extra flavor.
- Liberally season both sides of the kipper with pepper before popping them into the microwave. Avoid adding salt, as keepers are naturally salty.
- Cover the plate with a microwavable cling film or lid to trap the fishy smell.
- Pop them in the microwave and cook on high power for 2-3 minutes. Flip the kippers over halfway through cooking time to ensure they cook evenly.
- Once done, the flesh should be opaque, flaky, and tender to the touch. However, if it is pink in the middle or translucent, microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes until done.
- Remove the plate from the microwave and discard the cling film. Serve your microwaved keepers with buttered toast, potato wedges, or any other side dish of your choice.
How To Store and Reheat Microwaved Kippers
If you find yourself with some leftover kippers, don’t fret! Store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days or freeze them for up to three months.
However, I don’t recommend freezing them longer than one month as this will affect the texture and flavor of your kippers. Also, cook them thoroughly before storing them to eliminate any potential bacteria.
A precise way to ensure the safety of your kippers is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the fish. If the temperature reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.8 degrees Celsius) or higher, your kippers are safe to eat.
To reheat, remove from the fridge and microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes. If you’re not in a hurry, an oven is another excellent choice for reheating these tasty morsels. Simply, preheat your oven to 350°F, set the kippers on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until piping hot.
What To Serve with Microwaved Kippers?
Traditionally, kippers are served with a side of toast and a poached egg for breakfast or brunch.
However, if you’re looking for some inspiration, I have a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
For starters, try serving them with bacon on the side for an indulgent salty-sweet combo. This is perfect for those on a diet or watching their calorie intake. Or, take a more traditional route by pairing your kippers with grilled tomatoes, spinach, and avocado on rye bread.
However, if you want something lighter but still filling, why not give your kippers an Asian twist? Try pan frying them with soy sauce, garlic and ginger before serving over rice with green onions.
Alternatively, if you are like me and can’t resist cheese with anything, then go ahead and sprinkle these little delicacies with feta cheese, black pepper, and chives. The combination of sweet and savory will make your taste buds jump for joy.
Microwaving is a quicker way to turn kippers into delicious eatables. However, you must exercise caution as they are easily overcooked if microwaved for too long. The key is to cook for a short time, constantly monitor them, and check their temperature before serving.
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