Marinaded Kipper Fillets with Potatoes

Thanks, in large measure, to the writings of Elizabeth David, cooking in the 1960s began to emerge from the Dark Ages with a new respect accorded to the most commonplace of foods. It must have been the Mediterranean influence, but there was a fashion for these small strips of fish which elevated the humble kipper to new status. The food writer Frances Bissell suggested serving them on potatoes – an excellent combination and one that should revive the popularity of a fish not often thought of as comme il faut.


  • 1 lb (450 g) potatoes, cleaned
  • 1 lb (450 g) kipper fillets, cut into finger-sized pieces
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Black pepper
  • Parsley


The kipper fillets need to be marinated for about 24 hours before eating. Put them into a shallow china or glass dish with the onion and garlic and pour over the oil and lemon juice. Season with the pepper. During the marinating period turn the fillets once or twice.

Next day, boil or steam the potatoes and when tender, cut into thick slices. Divide between 4 serving plates while still warm, put the kipper fillets onto the potatoes and spoon on the marinade, adding a little more oil if necessary. Decorate with chopped parsley.

‘You will sometimes read … that each person, before taking a bite, pointed the potato at a salt herring or a bit of bacon hanging in front of the chimney; but this … never occurred in real life.’

From English As We Speak It In Ireland by P. W. Joyce, 1910.