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David Ross

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

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I'm loving this topic.

I have ZERO experience in curing fish except for making ceviche. My husband went walleye fishing on Saturday and brought home a huge catch. It includes some white bass. I happen to have a bunch of limes that need using up, so I'm going to contribute to this thread this afternoon (as soon as I'm done planting some tomatoes etc. in my garden).

David, I'm in awe/love of your Bradley smoker. We (and I use we verrrry lightly lol because my husband does all of the meat smoking) have a run-of-the-mill Brinkman smoker. It does fine and I'm pretty sure that it's the only type of smoker my husband has ever used. I'd like to get one like you have and branch out a bit. I'm wondering if they make smaller versions or if the size you have is what we would want. We are a 2 person family and we don't smoke a huge amount at a time. I have a feeling I would have a hard time convincing my husband to go for an electric smoker, so I gotta do research to re-butt any arguments lol. Also, and this might be a stupid question, do you leave your smoker outdoors at all times?

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I've got some beautiful Sea Scallops. Anyone out there have a method for brining and smoking scallops?

David, this is where the ceviche techniques are going to come into play. I'd do a lime and hot pepper 24-36 hour cure on them, then smoke over something quite strong, hickory maybe, for another 5-6 hours. Scallops done this way are amazing all on their lonesomes, or pan-seared to heat 'em up, with butter sauteed asparagus....


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Wonderful - thank you very much David for the recipe David.

I'm really looking forward to trying it.

Great thread in general and Panaderia Canadensis' suggestion for the scallops looks interesting too.

BB


Belgian Blue

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I'm loving this topic.

I have ZERO experience in curing fish except for making ceviche. My husband went walleye fishing on Saturday and brought home a huge catch. It includes some white bass. I happen to have a bunch of limes that need using up, so I'm going to contribute to this thread this afternoon (as soon as I'm done planting some tomatoes etc. in my garden).

David, I'm in awe/love of your Bradley smoker. We (and I use we verrrry lightly lol because my husband does all of the meat smoking) have a run-of-the-mill Brinkman smoker. It does fine and I'm pretty sure that it's the only type of smoker my husband has ever used. I'd like to get one like you have and branch out a bit. I'm wondering if they make smaller versions or if the size you have is what we would want. We are a 2 person family and we don't smoke a huge amount at a time. I have a feeling I would have a hard time convincing my husband to go for an electric smoker, so I gotta do research to re-butt any arguments lol. Also, and this might be a stupid question, do you leave your smoker outdoors at all times?

I have the Bradley 6-rack digital smoker. They make a basic electric model without the digital controls that comes in a 4-rack and 6-rack version. It's probably about $100 cheaper than the unit I have.

No, I don't leave it outside. They do have a cover you can buy to protect the smoker from the weather, but I keep mine in the garage. One side of my backyard isn't fenced and I'm too much of a worry-wart to let it sit on the patio without thinking someone is going to haul it away. I keep it on a furniture dolly in the garage so all I have to do is wheel it out to the patio when I'm ready to do some smoking. That way I can keep my eye on both the smoker and what's inside.

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I've got some beautiful Sea Scallops. Anyone out there have a method for brining and smoking scallops?

David, this is where the ceviche techniques are going to come into play. I'd do a lime and hot pepper 24-36 hour cure on them, then smoke over something quite strong, hickory maybe, for another 5-6 hours. Scallops done this way are amazing all on their lonesomes, or pan-seared to heat 'em up, with butter sauteed asparagus....

Thanks for the tips. I'm going to try it Friday.

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I'll never forget the first time I was introduced to ceviche. I was in 3rd or 4th grade and living in a tiny town up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My friend's mom--I'll call her Mrs. F--made a huge bowl of it. I couldn't tell you what kinds of fish she used, all I can tell you is I was wowed by the flavors. Spicy, cool, crunchy, salty.

It was very exotic and fresh to me.

To my friend it was like "Aw, mom, ceviche again???"

I thought it was so cool that the fish "cooked" in the lime juice.

I still think it's cool. :cool:

Mrs. F also introduced me to prosciutto wrapped melon...but that's a story for another time.

Freshly caught walleye and white bass filets:

ceviche 001.jpg

Marinating in fresh lime juice (don't use the bottled kind, it just doesn't taste right):

ceviche 003.jpg

After marinating for a little over 4 hours:

ceviche 010.jpg

You can tell the meat is whiter and looks "cooked". I've seen recipes that range from leaving the fish in lime juice for 20 minutes to over night. I don't like leaving it over night...it's too limey and cooked for my taste.

The rest of the ingredients:

ceviche 009.jpg

The ultimate best time for me to make ceviche is when the tomatoes are ready in my garden. What a difference a Kansas, garden fresh tomato makes! Sometimes in the winter I'll crack open a jar of my canned tomatoes, but since all my tomatoes burned up last summer, my 3 jars are precious commodities. So, I made do with a yucky store bought tomato and some Hell On The Red salsa (the best store brand, imo) Anyway, along with that we have celery, jalapeno, green onion,(I like to use red onion the best, but I was out)black olives, green olives and fresh cilantro from my garden that survived over the winter. OH and not pictured, a few squirts of Sriracha hot sauce because the jalapenos were not spicy at all, unfortunately. Salt and pepper to taste. Add some tortilla chips, and you're good to go!

ceviche 013.jpg

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Walley is delicious smoked - as any northern Albertan worth their salt will tell you. The best stuff (above even what you smoke yourself) comes from the Driftwood First Nations, who still smoke it the traditional way: in a dedicated smoking teepee over birchwood.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Here's my recipe for cured lake trout roe. And since you probably want to do something with the trout itself, I'm adding a recipe for vodka-cured lake trout.

troutroe1-small.jpg

Cured lake trout roe

Yields 8 oz

8 oz lake trout roe, still in its sac (called skein)

about 0.35 oz (10 g) salt (see below)

1/8 tsp (0.75 g) curing salt

2/3 tsp (2 g) canola oil

Place the roe on a cooling rack over a bowl, and rub gently to separate the eggs from the membrane (see picture below). Rinse the eggs with cold water and strain. Weigh the roe and return to a dry bowl.

Weigh 4.5 % of the roe weight in salt, then mix with the curing salt and sprinkle over the roe. Gently mix with a spatula, add the oil and mix again. Transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate for at least 1 day, stirring every 12 hours or so.

troutroe4-small1.jpg

Vodka-cured lake trout

Yields about 6 servings

1 oz salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 oz sugar

4 oz light olive oil

4 oz vodka

1 large trout fillet, skinless (about 16 oz when cleaned)

In a blender, mix the salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil and vodka. Place the trout and the curing mix into a plastic pouch, and refrigerate for 48 hours. Flip every 12 hours, making sure the fish remains completely coated in the liquid.

Take the fillet out of the pouch, rinse under cold water and pat dry. Slice very thinly and serve.

curedtrout1-small.jpg

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Here's my recipe for cured lake trout roe. And since you probably want to do something with the trout itself, I'm adding a recipe for vodka-cured lake trout.

troutroe1-small.jpg

Cured lake trout roe

Yields 8 oz

8 oz lake trout roe, still in its sac (called skein)

about 0.35 oz (10 g) salt (see below)

1/8 tsp (0.75 g) curing salt

2/3 tsp (2 g) canola oil

Place the roe on a cooling rack over a bowl, and rub gently to separate the eggs from the membrane (see picture below). Rinse the eggs with cold water and strain. Weigh the roe and return to a dry bowl.

Weigh 4.5 % of the roe weight in salt, then mix with the curing salt and sprinkle over the roe. Gently mix with a spatula, add the oil and mix again. Transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate for at least 1 day, stirring every 12 hours or so.

troutroe4-small1.jpg

Vodka-cured lake trout

Yields about 6 servings

1 oz salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 oz sugar

4 oz light olive oil

4 oz vodka

1 large trout fillet, skinless (about 16 oz when cleaned)

In a blender, mix the salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil and vodka. Place the trout and the curing mix into a plastic pouch, and refrigerate for 48 hours. Flip every 12 hours, making sure the fish remains completely coated in the liquid.

Take the fillet out of the pouch, rinse under cold water and pat dry. Slice very thinly and serve.

curedtrout1-small.jpg

That roe looks absolutely fabulous. Truly what one calls "local" cuisine.

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I admit to being curious about the oil in the recipe.

What role does oil have in the cure please?

On the previous part of the post about dry curing salmon (not brining), can anyone tell me how long they freeze the salmon to kill potential parasites, before defrosting and starting the curing process? There appears to be a host of conflicting information on the net about this subject, from 24h after freezing to the core at -20°c to a whopping 7 days at the same core temperature.

Would be very interested to hear what other posters who home (dry) cure their fish - without further hot smoking - do.

BB


Edited by Belgian Blue (log)

Belgian Blue

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I admit to being curious about the oil in the recipe.

What role does oil have in the cure please?

On the previous part of the post about dry curing salmon (not brining), can anyone tell me how long they freeze the salmon to kill potential parasites, before defrosting and starting the curing process? There appears to be a host of conflicting information on the net about this subject, from 24h after freezing to the core at -20°c to a whopping 7 days at the same core temperature.

Would be very interested to hear what other posters who home (dry) cure their fish - without further hot smoking - do.

BB

Doing some quick googling, it appears the guidelines are -20C for 7 days or -35C for 24 hours if served fresh, -20C for 24 hours if served lightly cured.


PS: I am a guy.

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Loving this thread! That Indian Candy is mouthwatering.

In a similar colour palette: Beetroot Cured Salmon. This is something I make fairly often (I did it on my eG foodblog!) and this thread jolted me into making it again.

A piece of salmon; tail today.

2012-04-28 at 18.25.17.jpg

And the cure; for a 250g piece of salmon, I use 25g of salt, 25g of sugar, a tablespoon of vodka, some white pepper and a grated beetroot.

2012-04-28 at 18.31.12.jpg

Packed onto the salmon fillet and wrapped in plastic, and weighted before putting in the fridge:

2012-04-28 at 18.36.26.jpg

2012-04-28 at 18.37.12.jpg

Results tomorrow!

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I admit to being curious about the oil in the recipe.

What role does oil have in the cure please?

On the previous part of the post about dry curing salmon (not brining), can anyone tell me how long they freeze the salmon to kill potential parasites, before defrosting and starting the curing process? There appears to be a host of conflicting information on the net about this subject, from 24h after freezing to the core at -20°c to a whopping 7 days at the same core temperature.

Would be very interested to hear what other posters who home (dry) cure their fish - without further hot smoking - do.

BB

Doing some quick googling, it appears the guidelines are -20C for 7 days or -35C for 24 hours if served fresh, -20C for 24 hours if served lightly cured.

The article you linked to was the one that got me thinking about this - in it the author questions the exact wording, in particular in his view it should be 24h freezing at -20°c to be counted from the time the core has reached -20°c. Which adds quite a bit of time to the 24h freezing.


Belgian Blue

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Does the beet add just color or both color and flavor?

To my palate, it noticeably alters the taste..a little sweeter, earthier, nuttier. Something slightly different from normal cured salmon, somwehow. But it's pretty subtle.

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The results, after a short 12 hour cure. I'm aware that standard cures are longer, but I like a softer texture and, I wanted to eat it!

2012-04-29 at 08.40.37.jpg

Served on a rye cracker smeared with a very mild chevre, a drizzle of olive oil and cracked pepper.

2012-04-29 at 08.48.14.jpg

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Does the beet add just color or both color and flavor?

To my palate, it noticeably alters the taste..a little sweeter, earthier, nuttier. Something slightly different from normal cured salmon, somwehow. But it's pretty subtle.

I like the differences from the typically cured salmon.

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Today I started smoking some Sea Scallops. I'm admittedly naive when it comes to vacuum-sealing, sous vide, or any type of technical measurements based on grams, drams or weight. Don't know a thing about how to do it. So based on your suggestions for Scallops that we've discussed during the Cook-Off, I blindly walked into this latest experiement.

These are large, fresh Sea Scallops that I got at my local fish store. I forgot to ask where they came from, but whatever sea it is, it produces some lovely Scallops-

008.JPG

I seasoned the Scallops with lime juice, lime zest and some dried red pepper flakes and just a sprinkle of Kosher salt-

009.JPG

Then using my Foodsaver machine, I vacuum-sealed the Scallops-

015.JPG

I let the Scallops quick-cure in the vacuum bag, refrigerated, for two hours. I'm not sure how long the Scallops should actually go in this "ceviche-style" cure of lime juice, but I knew I didn't want to go to far and that's why I limited the curing time to two hours. I was looking for just a hint of citrus flavor and enough time for the acid of the lime juice to breakdown the protein of the Scallop but not overcook it.

Ready for the smoker-

020.JPG

I hot-smoked the Scallops with alderwood for two hours at a temperature of 160, checking the Scallops every 30 minutes or so to make sure they were still soft to the touch-

028.JPG

I read one recipe for Smoked Scallops that calls for letting them sit overnight in olive oil to temper the smoke flavor and to let the oil soak in to keep the meat moist. So right now the Sea Scallops are resting in olive oil in the fridge.

Tommorrow the Smoked Sea Scallops will go into a dish with lime, olives and prosciutto-

034.JPG

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Well, it took about a week of planning, a day of brining, curing and smoking, resting overnight, then today, Smoked Sea Scallops. The dish turned out magnificent!

I sliced the Scallops about 1/4" thick then laid the slices on the plate. The seasoning was a drizzle of olive oil and just a hint of fresh lime juice. Then the garnishes were toasted almonds, green and black olives, lime zest, micro-greens and little shards of fried red onion. Folks, you have to smoke some Sea Scallops. The Scallops that didn't go on the appetizer plate are going into a pasta dish with lots of garlic.

003.JPG

011.JPG

014.JPG

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I'm loving this topic.

I have ZERO experience in curing fish except for making ceviche. My husband went walleye fishing on Saturday and brought home a huge catch. It includes some white bass. I happen to have a bunch of limes that need using up, so I'm going to contribute to this thread this afternoon (as soon as I'm done planting some tomatoes etc. in my garden).

David, I'm in awe/love of your Bradley smoker. We (and I use we verrrry lightly lol because my husband does all of the meat smoking) have a run-of-the-mill Brinkman smoker. It does fine and I'm pretty sure that it's the only type of smoker my husband has ever used. I'd like to get one like you have and branch out a bit. I'm wondering if they make smaller versions or if the size you have is what we would want. We are a 2 person family and we don't smoke a huge amount at a time. I have a feeling I would have a hard time convincing my husband to go for an electric smoker, so I gotta do research to re-butt any arguments lol. Also, and this might be a stupid question, do you leave your smoker outdoors at all times?

Shelby,

I have a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, somewhat similar to the Bradley. Mine is 30" and has four racks, so probably close to what your looking for. It is all digitally controlled, and does not use 'Pucks' - it uses regular wood chips (means every hour or two you need to manually add chips. I've had it a couple of years and I LOVE it; it is so much more convenient and accurate than my old charcoal water smoker (Coleman).

This is where I got it

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I agree and I also love my electric smoker. Electric, digital smokers might be seen by some purists as not traditional, but I'd rather have the confidence and convenience of having complete control over the smoking time and temperature inside the smoker rather than sitting in a lawn chair outside next to a smoker for 12 hours. And in all honesty, I'm feeling that the flavors of the smoked fish I'm producing out of my Bradley Smoker are far better than the old metal smoker I still have sitting

on the patio.

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      Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like 'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?

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      + + +

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      Imagine the scene: I whip out my sausage maker and give ten reasons why my metaphor is bigger and better than everyone else's. (I did mention that I was the only man among three dozen women in that training, didn't I?) Laugh if you want, but one's sausage is important to many a man. A quick perusal of this topic reveals that I'm not alone. (You did notice the gender breakdown in that topic, didn't you?)

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      Chris Amirault (aka, well, chrisamirault) is Director of Operations, eG Forums. He also runs a preschool and teaches in Providence, RI.
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