Buckling should be better known.

It is the name of a cure for a hot-smoked herring that was developed last century when the fish were abundant on these shores. In truth, it was always the poor relation of the kipper.

Kippers are split and cold-smoked; the buckling is hot-smoked whole, gutted, but the roe and the milt are left in. It keeps its moisture and essential oiliness. With golden-brown skin and pale pink, opaque flesh, it is sweeter and less aggressively smoky than the kipper. I love it – that is why I seek it in its Norfolk heartland.

Once upon a time when herring was a staple – as in Scandinavia still – you didn’t have to travel so far afield. Diversifying soap magnate Lord Leverhulme built a curing factory in Fleetwood and shipped the fish down refrigerated from the Hebridean Isles he owned.

I pair the BUCKLING with pungent, fresh horseradish IS a terrific starter or light lunch.

Ingredients

  • Two whole buckling – boned and flaked
  • One cucumber cut into ribbons with a peeler
  • Six finely sliced radishes
  • Two little gem lettuce finely chopped
  • A good handful of chunky croutons
  • Four tablespoons of home-made horseradish sauce, see below
  • Eight boiled quill’s eggs shelled
  • Four skinned de-seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • Four finely chopped spring onions
  • A small bunch of chopped chives
  • Pepper
  • Sea salt

For Horseradish Sauce

  • 100g freshly grated horseradish
  • One tablespoon sugar
  • Two teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 200g soured cream

Method

  1. Make horseradish sauce first. Put all the above ingredients in a blender and give a good whizz.
  2. For the salad: Toss the buckling, lettuce, cucumber, radish and spring onions together with the horseradish sauce.
  3. Arrange in a bowl.
  4. Scatter with chives, croutons shelled quill’s eggs (they take two minutes to boil) and tomato and serve.

Robert Owen Brown.

Image Credit – Joby at jobycatto.com

For more inspiring recipes, you can purchase Roberts Owen Brown’s cookery book on Amazon.

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