Smoky / by Anne

img_0551fishKippered snacks.  What is the deal with them, anyway?  Goofy name aside, are they lowbrow?  If I were to write a salad recipe that included smoked fish--which I did--would using kippered snacks be frowned upon in finer circles?  I’m just curious.  Basically they are smoked herring, which to me sounds smoothly Scandinavian and much more sophisticated than--you know.  Anyway, goofy or not, I’ll keep eating them until someone tells me they are extremely bad for me.  And then they might become my sordid secret.  They are pretty tasty.

My favorite memory of kippered snacks: sitting on my dorm room floor, sophomore year of college, eating flakes of smoky fish on crackers with Dijon mustard.  Listening to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”  Does it get any cooler than that? C’mon!  So every time I break out this flavor combo it takes me back to days when the air smelled like old books, the sky felt like the limit and I had lots of room on the floor to study.    

Well, here I am, 20 years later, and I play “Giant Steps” to my baby girl—a jazz lover.  Meanwhile, I’m out of crackers.  That lack of crackers is the origin of this elegant-ish salad.  If you don’t like smoked fish, you will not like this salad.  No gettin’ around it,  this salad tastes like fish.  It’s also compelling and savory-sweet-crisp-tart-smoky.  Perfect to savor while contemplating your life and your major. 

Wilted Spinach Salad with Smoked Herring and Apples

2 large shallots, sliced in loops

2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to taste

1 tin of smoked herring (kipper snacks)*

1 heaping T Dijon mustard

1 lemon

1 sweet-tart apple (such as Cameo, Braeburn, or Jonathan), sliced thinly

Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

4 or 5 generous handfuls of baby spinach


1.       Sauté the shallots in the olive oil over medium heat until tender and almost brown. 

2.       Meanwhile, squeeze ½ of the lemon in a small bowl and whisk together with the Dijon. 

3.       When the shallots are tender, add the lemon mixture to the pan, stir together, and reduce heat to low. 

4.       Open the tin of herring and carefully remove fish to the pan in bite-sized pieces, leaving the oil in the can. 

5.       Place sliced apples into pan and gently stir fish & apples to coat. 

6.       Add the spinach and stir until the leaves are glossy with the dressing and wilted. 

7.       Arrange greens on plate, making sure that some of the goodies make it to the top. 

8.       If desired, squeeze more lemon on top and season to taste with salt and pepper.

*It would be fun to try this recipe with higher quality smoked fish.  It tastes great like this, though!

Make 2 small salads or 1 entrée sized salad.