Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Cook-Off 59: Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish

Cookoff Charcuterie

  • Please log in to reply
148 replies to this topic

#121 Prawncrackers

Prawncrackers
  • participating member
  • 1,157 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, UK

Posted 16 September 2012 - 01:23 PM


Prawn how much is Eel a KG, what's the yield and er what's the procedure?

I've only ever seen one recipe for it, somewhere.


Last one I bought around the new year was £22 per kg, and it was dead on about kilo too. I didn't weigh the smoked fillets, but if I had to guess then I got about 200g from it. So not cheap at all, but so worth it. I'll give you a procedure in this very thread if I can get my hands on one or two soon. Watch this space!



Right at the start of this thread I promised a step by step guide to smoking eels. Here it is finally! Eels haven't been available this summer, it's taken this long to get hold of them. The price has climbed to £30 per kg since, so there may not be many opportunities to smoke them in future.


Step 1 - Buy and kill

Posted Image
Get your fishmonger to choose the most lively eels, 1 kilo in size is just right. Any smaller and the yield is poor, much bigger and they're difficult to handle in a normal kitchen. I get mine from the Indoor Fish Market here but they won't kill them for you but if your fishmonger does then get them to do it and clean them too, making sure they leave the head on. Some people just go for it, whack them over the head and gut them whilst they're still thrashing but I like to handle them as little as possible. So in a suitably sized pot with a lid scatter three or four big handfuls of coarse salt all over the bottom and pour in a little water to make a grainy slush. Tip the eels into the pot and clamp the lid down tight. Leave for an hour, the eels will thrash around for a while but the salt will eventually kill them and help to deslime. You can tell they're dead when the eyes go blank, they usually go belly up too.

Step 2 - Clean and Gut

Posted Image
Remove the eels and rinse them under plenty of cold running water. A lot of the slime will be left in the pot but there will still be some on the eel. You have a choice here, you can rub this off with some more coarse salt or scrape it off with a sharp sturdy knife. It's a messy job either way. When the eel has been fully deslimed, gut it from it's anal vent to it's jaw and remove all it's innards making sure to clean the bloodline. Most other fish are quite easy to gut but eel guts are particularly tenacious, you may need sturdy fish tweezers or pliers to make a really clean job of it. Most importantly when gutting eels you need slice a couple of inches towards the tail to get the kidney out. The tip of my knife in the photo is where the anal vent was located, you can see how far to cut in that direction.

Step 3 - Salt and Dry

Posted Image
For every kilo of eel rub 70g of salt into the cavity and all over the outside. Place covered in the fridge overnight, preferably 24 hours, redistributing the salty brine at least once in that time. The next day rinse the eels off and dry them quickly with a clean cloth inside and out. Place the eels on a rack uncovered in the fridge overnight for a sticky pellicle to form on the skin and in the cavity. A pellicle allows smoke to adhere better to food so make sure that the eel is as exposed as possible while it's in the fridge, that's why a rack is useful. The resting in the fridge also helps to redistribute the saltiness throughout the eel.

Step 4 - Smoke

Posted Image
You're ready to smoke your eel. Prepare your hot smoker for a 80-90C burn for up to 90 minutes. It's very important that you don't smoke them too hot or they will split and all the oil will burst out. If you're using a horizontal smoker, lay the eels carefully belly up, you may need a small skewer to stop the eels from turning over. More commonly eels are smoked vertically, tie some string or twine around the throat just below the side fins and use this to hang them head up. If you don't do this and simply insert a hook straight into the jaw then as the eel cooks it softens and will fall off the hook - a complete disaster! I like to use oak chips, it's a classic flavour with fish, robust and sweet but really you can use any smoking wood. Check your eels after an hour, they should be nicely smoked, leave for up to half an hour longer if you've got particularly fat ones.

For posterity, a 987g eel at the market weighed 751g after smoking and produced 482g of pure meat. Enjoy, it's worth it.
Posted Image

#122 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,378 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 16 September 2012 - 04:46 PM

Wow, those are darn tasty looking eels!

#123 adey73

adey73
  • participating member
  • 607 posts
  • Location:Moscow, Russia

Posted 19 September 2012 - 03:59 AM

Jeez Prawn death by salt, you really are one alpha-Panda!
“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#124 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,250 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:46 PM

Bit late to the party for this cook-off but here is my first effort at smoked salmon.

Dry Salt packed around fish overnight. Rinsed and patted dry. Dried in fridge uncovered on rack for a day. Cold smoked in my Masterbuilt electric smoker using A-Maze-N smoker with oak chips and apple wood sawdust for an hour and a half only. I also used my chamber sealer to seal ice in bags and put one bag on each of the spare racks. It was cool in there.

Came out perfectly. Here it is on toasted ciabatta with cream cheese, onions, and capers.

smoked salmon.jpg

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#125 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,378 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:10 PM

Bit late to the party for this cook-off but here is my first effort at smoked salmon.

Dry Salt packed around fish overnight. Rinsed and patted dry. Dried in fridge uncovered on rack for a day. Cold smoked in my Masterbuilt electric smoker using A-Maze-N smoker with oak chips and apple wood sawdust for an hour and a half only. I also used my chamber sealer to seal ice in bags and put one bag on each of the spare racks. It was cool in there.

Came out perfectly. Here it is on toasted ciabatta with cream cheese, onions, and capers.

smoked salmon.jpg

Thanks. It's never too late to post in a Cook-Off. I like the idea of the ice bags to keep the smoking chamber cool. I've never thought of that. I think I'll try it once we get some fresh Spring salmon up here.

#126 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,094 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:24 PM

Bit late to the party for this cook-off but here is my first effort at smoked salmon.

Dry Salt packed around fish overnight. Rinsed and patted dry. Dried in fridge uncovered on rack for a day. Cold smoked in my Masterbuilt electric smoker using A-Maze-N smoker with oak chips and apple wood sawdust for an hour and a half only. I also used my chamber sealer to seal ice in bags and put one bag on each of the spare racks. It was cool in there.

Came out perfectly. Here it is on toasted ciabatta with cream cheese, onions, and capers.

smoked salmon.jpg


Excellent nickrey. I smoked a couple of trimmed sides after wet brining my salmon in a 10% salt solution for 24 hr. I cold smoked for 3+ hours in my Masterbuilt. I used a couple of foam ice packs and managed to keep the ambient temp around 44-50* f. If you can get a few of these they're great. I wrap then in foil and but the fish directly on the packs and the fish stays very cold, even here in Fla. Just rinse and reuse over and over

Your salmon looks really good

#127 mm84321

mm84321
  • participating member
  • 797 posts

Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:29 AM

How far in advance can I brine salmon prior to cooking? Looking to eliminate albumin. Not cooking sous vide. Thanks.

 



#128 vogelap

vogelap
  • participating member
  • 149 posts
  • Location:Cincinnati, Ohio USA

Posted 11 April 2013 - 11:19 AM

8-12 hours should be sufficient. What's the cooking method going to be?


-drew
www.drewvogel.com

"Now I'll tell you what, there's never been a baby born, at least never one come into the Firehouse, who won't stop fussing if you stick a cherry in its face." -- Jack McDavid, Jack's Firehouse restaurant

#129 thampik

thampik
  • participating member
  • 161 posts
  • Location:United Kingdom

Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:16 PM

I often cook a Sat Barns (2* chef) Salmon recipe that involves brining before sous viding - the recipe involves brining for 1 hr - 200g sugar/200g salt/1 lt water/4 pieces of kombu. It is then cooked at 40C for 10 mins.

#130 Syzygies

Syzygies
  • participating member
  • 269 posts

Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:23 PM

I brine in 1/2 cup sea salt, 1/4 cup sugar per gallon water, for four hours or so. I then cook very slowly on a bed of supermarket basil (or large garden basil, at a stage where pesto would taste like lawn clippings) in a Spanish cazuela, in an outdoor ceramic cooker over charcoal with some apple smoke. This is both very easy and spectacular.

 

To eliminate albumin you want to air dry in the fridge after brining, again several hours. This forms a "pellicle" (dried skin) that keeps the salmon from oozing "albumin" (white foam) when you cook it. I don't bother; salmon photographs better with a pellicle, but I find the pellicle more objectionable than the albumin.


Edited by Syzygies, 11 April 2013 - 12:24 PM.

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"
Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

#131 ninagluck

ninagluck
  • participating member
  • 158 posts
  • Location:vienna

Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:23 PM

actually, i you brine raw with salt and sugar, it is cooked and does not need further cooking! what result do you want to get?



#132 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,094 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:56 PM

actually, i you brine raw with salt and sugar, it is cooked and does not need further cooking! what result do you want to get?


Well not exactly.

What % brine do you use and for how long?

#133 Keith_W

Keith_W
  • participating member
  • 578 posts
  • Location:Melbourne

Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

How far in advance can I brine salmon prior to cooking? Looking to eliminate albumin. Not cooking sous vide. Thanks.

 

Hi MM, I brine mine according to MC@Home. If memory serves me right, it is a brine made of 10% salt, 4% sugar, and 3-5 hour brine. After you brine, rinse the fish to remove excess brine. I would have thought that your salmon wouldn't change any more once you remove it from the brine, provided  you wrap it up and refrigerate it immediately? I don't know the answer, because I have never kept salmon more than a few hours before cooking it after it comes out of the brine. FWIW the MC@Home brine recipe gives a subtly seasoned fish.

 

 

actually, i you brine raw with salt and sugar, it is cooked and does not need further cooking! what result do you want to get?

 

Depends on what your definition of "cooked" is :) I think most people would use the word "cured" because to say that something is cooked would involve applying heat. 


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#134 rlibkind

rlibkind
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,966 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 11 April 2013 - 03:28 PM

I don't know whether or not this is a "true fact", but I was taught that if you get albumin you've over-cooked the salmon. I'll ha e to check my Harold McGee tomes.

I dry cure a small filet (one pound) for no more than two hours in 1:1 kosher salt/sugar (1/4 cup each) with lemon zest added, wrapped tight in plastic. Rinse off cure, thoroughly dry, bake at 225F for 25 minutes if still cold from fridge, 20 if at room temp. Finished product has very thin pellicle, and melts in your mouth if you start with a fine piece if Chinook; still excellent with sockeye (which may require less cooking because its fillets are thinner), just not quite as superb. I wouldn't try Coho for this. Ditto all but the highest grade Scottish or Norwegian farmed product.

Credit for this recipe goes to Vadouvan who does not appear to be too active on eGullet these days.
Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

#135 mm84321

mm84321
  • participating member
  • 797 posts

Posted 12 April 2013 - 07:00 PM

So, I did not have time to do a brine. I basically just seared the salmon on one side, then poached in olive oil at 60C until a center of 32C. Did not get one trace of albumin, so that was good. 



#136 skavoovie

skavoovie
  • participating member
  • 11 posts

Posted 13 April 2013 - 06:03 AM

32C? That's really really low but if you liked it and your fish is good enough to eat raw, why not. But albumin shouldn't be an issue until somewhere above 50C. 



#137 rotuts

rotuts
  • participating member
  • 5,700 posts
  • Location:Boston MA

Posted 13 April 2013 - 10:06 AM

I love raw salmon, used to eat it a lot ( sashimi ? ) when I was able to get extremely fresh salmon at Cook's Seafood in Menlo Park CA.

 

easy to tell fresh enough for raw:  it has no odor what so ever.  none.



#138 ninagluck

ninagluck
  • participating member
  • 158 posts
  • Location:vienna

Posted 13 April 2013 - 10:49 AM

@keith, you are right, "cooked" is not the right term. lets call it ready to eat! ;-)

#139 mm84321

mm84321
  • participating member
  • 797 posts

Posted 13 April 2013 - 11:55 AM

32C? That's really really low but if you liked it and your fish is good enough to eat raw, why not. But albumin shouldn't be an issue until somewhere above 50C. 

 

That's what I figured. I wouldn't serve any fish that was not fresh enough to eat raw. I prefer salmon cooked rare, just to the point where it will flake. I let it rest for 20 minutes or so, then reheated in the olive oil just before plating. The guests loved it and ate every bit, so I was happy. 



#140 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,825 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 16 May 2014 - 05:40 PM

In an effort to finally start eating small oily sustainable fish like sardines and mackerel, I picked up this bag (12 oz incl the fluid) of Mack Snacks at the dollar store. The ingredient list is mackerel, salt and water and it is from Vietnam. I am somewhat afraid to open it being pulled by curiosity and repelled by the thought of I don't know what... Anyway, I will open it this weekend but thought I would ask first. Seems once open I need to use up relatively quickly. I am thinking to pour the whole thing into a big jar so that the brine continues to preserve the fish. Your thoughts?

(I do have access to decent fresh and lightly salted sardines and mackerel at the Japanese market around the corner so I know that is a great option)

photo (60).JPG

#141 Franci

Franci
  • participating member
  • 1,214 posts

Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:02 PM

I eat a lot of mackerel but I think I only have had one time  slightly smoked mackerel in water, canned, it was very good. I would also pour everything in glass jar and try a small piece. When I'm not very happy with a preserved fish, I usually go two ways: mix with mash potatoes, some saute' shallots, paprika, chopped herbs, a little bit of beaten egg and turn in croquettes or fish cakes (this especially if the fish taste is too strong for me). Otherwise, it the fish is too bland, I'll add some good olive oil and season, plus add something for acidity and herbs and let it sit in the fridge overnight.


  • heidih likes this

#142 Plantes Vertes

Plantes Vertes
  • participating member
  • 894 posts

Posted 17 May 2014 - 05:17 AM

Brined fish makes me think of Russian food. I would serve it dressed with onions and vinegar with a potato and a cucumber salad. There's also a dish called 'fish in furs' which is brined fish layered with sliced potatoes, eggs and beetroot and dressed with mayonnaise.

 

You could mix it with butter, horseradish, lemon juice and creme fraiche in a food processor to make a pate and serve it on toast or little pancakes with cucumber pickles.

 

There's a kimchi and mackerel stew as well called godeungeo kimchi jorim.

 

My housemate loves canned mackerel with onion and chilli in tomato sauce, for pasta.



#143 Darienne

Darienne
  • participating member
  • 4,711 posts
  • Location:Rolling Hills of Cavan, Ontario

Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:27 AM

Canned mackerel tasted awful to me.  Used to feed it to the four-legged ones before the price went sky high.


Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#144 Franci

Franci
  • participating member
  • 1,214 posts

Posted 17 May 2014 - 10:59 AM

I really believe there is a big difference in quality between canned fish brands. I bought a wild planet tuna, which has very high reviews on the web, and to me it's almost inedible straight from the can. The smoked mackerel in water that I -very doubtfully- bought (in France) was indeed a very positive surprise. 



#145 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,094 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:04 PM

I really believe there is a big difference in quality between canned fish brands. I bought a wild planet tuna, which has very high reviews on the web, and to me it's almost inedible straight from the can. The smoked mackerel in water that I -very doubtfully- bought (in France) was indeed a very positive surprise.


Franci, I'm not a big fan of the Wild Planet Tuna either. I have it in the pantry but it was not an overwhelming difference from other nationally recognized brands for the price. It comes out of the can in a solid lump

#146 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,825 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 17 May 2014 - 03:14 PM

I opened the bag and of course despite my best efforts at being careful ended up with fish juice splashing onto my front.... The initial view was a bit scary as, in my mind, I thought of brine as clear and this was well as you can see yellow opaque stuff. Not really smelly considering and a taste revealed that it was not very salty at all - something I had thought was sure to be the case. The texture of course per the image is sort of "cat-foody".

I mashed one of the thicker chunks with just a touch of mayo, dijon mustard, pickled mustard seeds and black pepper. I grilled a little slice of home-made 5 minute bread and did half with just an added parsley leaf and the other half with some cucumber/yogurt/garlic salad from the fridge. Not unpleasant and not really worse than ordinary canned water pack tuna. More like a fish paste.

Final decision is that were I in the mood I might have used the whole thing including brine in a coconut based, spicy & herby, fish soup. As it stands I will probably mash the larger lumps into a fish salad along the line of my initial experiment but adding onion, lime juice and herbs.

photo (60).JPG

photo (67).JPG

#147 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,094 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 17 May 2014 - 03:20 PM

Nice use of the mackerel. Another option is to make a rillette

#148 Shelby

Shelby
  • society donor
  • 2,559 posts

Posted 22 July 2014 - 07:50 AM

Bringing this topic back because we finally got an electric smoker.  A dear friend gave it to my husband.  

 

Not as nice by any means as David's, but it suits us just fine :)

 

photo 2.jpg

 

Yesterday my husband cold smoked some salt brined trout.  

 

photo 1.JPG

 

 

Thanks for all of the tips and inspiration everyone!


  • Smithy, David Ross and rotuts like this

#149 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,378 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 24 July 2014 - 03:11 PM

You'll have plenty of great smoked trout dishes.


  • Shelby likes this





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Cookoff, Charcuterie