Aging / curing fish

Discussion in 'Whats Cooking? Food, Drink, & Gear' started by Spipet, Sep 19, 2019.

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  1. Sep 19, 2019 #1

    Spipet

    Spipet

    Spipet

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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 are more than welcome!

    I have done my first experiment with aging fish. I have looked around on the internet, but its difficult to find any clear and reliable explanation of techniques and the process behind aging fish, let alone much sharing of experiences by other people. So I would like to take this opportunity to share my (admittedly very limited) experience, and ask for any input the pro's on KKF 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



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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.



    [​IMG]
    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).



    [​IMG]
    Sashimi made on the day of the fish purchase



    [​IMG]
    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:



    [​IMG]
    Straight out of the fridge, started incision on the tail

    [​IMG]
    Top loin with a nice amount of fat

    [​IMG]
    Side shot



    [​IMG]
    Finished sashimi of 8 day aged kingfish



    [​IMG]
    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 and preferably in a separate fridge.
    Please share any experience you have with I am happy to hear your experiences with aging or curing fish!
     
    valgard, pete84, _THS_ and 2 others like this.
  2. Sep 19, 2019 #2

    ojisan

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    Beautiful sashimis! I sometimes do aging for 2 or 3 days. And yes, it makes the flavor richer.

    "Tsumoto-shiki Kyukyokuno Chinuki" (Tsumoto-method Ultimate Blood Removal) is booming in Japan. It's said that blood left in the fish makes bad smells over aging. Tsumoto-method push out all the blood from the fish using water and a hose.

    You can find his videos on Youtube.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeRYlwTRUJGXC25hFbw2SoA/featured

    I also use Pichitto sheet to remove more water from fish.
     
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  3. Sep 20, 2019 #3

    Spipet

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    Thanks, that is very interesting! I think getting fishermen to use this method will be quite a challenge, but it's worth a shot!

    I am going to get some Pichitto sheets, those look interesting. I assume they make most sense to use on lean fish (i.e. not on toro or fatty fish like mackerel)? And you put the fish in for a couple hours, and then store until use?
     
  4. Sep 20, 2019 #4

    _THS_

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    Fantastic post Peter
     
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  5. Sep 20, 2019 #5

    ojisan

    ojisan

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    I myself have never tried tsumoto-method (I cannot connect a hose to the tap), so I cannot tell details, however, some say you can apply the method to (dead) fish bought at the market, if it's fresh enough. You might try as well.

    It's hard to tell how long and which one (there are some types with different strength) is the best. If you keep your fish wrapped too long, it's going to be something like "himono" (dried fish). Some does like wrapping for 2 hours, remove from the sheet, then store.
     
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  6. Sep 20, 2019 #6

    gman

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    nice
     
  7. Sep 23, 2019 #7

    krx927

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    Very interesting topic. So much said and written about aging meat, but do little about fish.
     
  8. Sep 23, 2019 #8

    Nemo

    Nemo

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    Although I have never been able to sample for myself, it is said that fish killed by ikejime age much better. You may wish to find a fishmonger who provides such fish.
     
  9. Sep 23, 2019 #9

    Michi

    Michi

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    I recently dry-aged a side of salmon in an UMAi bag. Worked out fine. The fish came out a little different from normal gravlax, just a touch drier and more meaty. On the other hand, the result wasn't spectacularly different from gravlax, which makes me think that making gravlax the ordinary way is easier and cheaper. (The UMAi bags are expensive.)
     
  10. Sep 24, 2019 #10

    Spipet

    Spipet

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    Interesting! Did you put any salt/sugar/herbs on the salmon and into the bag? I think a good approach may be to age a whole salmon, or at least a fillet that is still on the bone. Would be very interesting to see how it would keep for 7 days!
     
  11. Sep 24, 2019 #11

    Michi

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