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Aging / curing fish


PeterS
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First a small disclaimer: I am far from a professional chef, and this is quite a long post. Any tips, tricks and constructive criticism is more than welcome!

Over the last few weeks, I have experimented with aging fish. I have look around on the internet, but its difficult to find any clear and reliable explanation of techniques and the process behind aging fish. So I would like to take this opportunity to share my (admittedly very limited) experience, and ask for any input the almighty Reddit may have.

My process started by buying the freshest fish I could find. This meant obtaining access to a wholesaler, and asking them for fish that was just killed. I ended up buying a kingfish (known in Japanese as hiramasa) farmed locally, that was super fresh and was stored without the guts.

 

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One fresh looking kingfish, without fins

 

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Red gills

I immediately started by drying the cavity of the fish and removing the scales. After, I filleted the fish by taking off its head (which turned into delicious grilled collars later that evening), leaving one side of the fish on the bone.

 

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The filleted side turned into delicious fresh sashimi for the evening, while the part on the bone was prepared for aging by wrapping it in tea cloth. I placed the wrapped fish on a wire rack in my fridge, and attached a thermometer to monitor the temperature. The temperature remained between 1-3 degrees Celsius during the aging period (7 days).

 

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Sashimi made on the day of the fish purchase

 

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Fish before entering the fridge

Over the next week, I turned the fish every twelve hours and occasionally took the fish out of the fridge to check if there were any funky areas or weird smells.

After 7 days in the fridge, the fish looked like this when it was taken apart:

 

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Straight out of the fridge, started incision on the tail

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Top loin with a nice amount of fat

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Side shot

 

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Finished sashimi of 8 day aged kingfish

 

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Close up of sashimi

The most important takeaways for me are:

  1. Aging this fish improved the flavor of the fattiest part (the belly) the most, and gave it a lot stronger flavor that lasted in the mouth for quite a while
  2. The texture of the top loin was greatly improved, and became more dense yet more tender as well
  3. The bloodline needs to be removed a bit more as it was a little bit dried out, or the fish needs to be aged whole to prevent this
  4. It is fine to keep fish in your fridge for 7 days (I was a little bit hesitant upon the first bite...)
  5. Next time I want to try aging the fish hanging up by its tail

I am happy to hear your experiences with aging or curing fish!

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Interesting. Way outside the realm of anything I've tried (I have cured and smoked fish) but I'll be intrigued to see what others' experiences have been. Thanks.

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Isn't fish that's just slaughtered a little dangerous to eat, from the perspective of parasites?  It's been my understanding, perhaps an incorrect one, that fish needs to be held at sub 0 temps for X number of hours to kill the parasites - and this is what makes typical "sushi" grade fish.

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2 hours ago, jedovaty said:

Isn't fish that's just slaughtered a little dangerous to eat, from the perspective of parasites?  It's been my understanding, perhaps an incorrect one, that fish needs to be held at sub 0 temps for X number of hours to kill the parasites - and this is what makes typical "sushi" grade fish.

I'm definitely not an expert, but I hear this a lot from people living in the USA. As far as I know, people are much less concerned about that here in the Netherlands, but of course I do not know what fishmongers usually do. All I know for sure is that this fish wasn't frozen and that I am still alive :D

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