Greetings fellow humans, I got let out this weekend – against medical advice but hey, I’m going mad here and the house has ceased provide sufficient diversion so I did what everyone wants to do at this time of year. I hit the fish market.
I’m very popular round the fishmongers- I bring luggage and I fill it. Not so popular on public transport with a rucksack full of ungutted fish though.
It’s a kingfish, I was looking for a whole skipjack but this will do instead. It was too big to take in one piece, shame cos it’s somewhat spoiled the mood of the photo. I’ve frozen a couple of decent sized slices but most of this is getting the same treatment as the salmon.
These impressive looking animals are Greater Weeverfish, they’re supposed to be good eating but have the distinction of being venomous – those dorsal spines are apparently a lot worse than a bee sting. I got them for free after pointing out to the fishmonger that he might want to watch his fingers.
The main purpose of the exercise, as I’ve already said was to procure some fish for smoking. The salmon and the kingfish were both to suffer this fate. Filetting them is trivial and I’d rather do it at home that get it done at the fishmongers as whole fish don’t squish as easily in my bag, they leak less too.
Like the bacon, fish needs curing before smoking and I have just the stuff to do it. It’s basically the same as making gravad lax but since I can’t stand dill I’m using juniper and black pepper in the cure.There’s equal parts salt and sugar in there two ( six tablespoons full of each ), it gets rubbed onto both sides of the fillets and then they’re wrapped and shoved in the fridge for three days.
Unwrapped and wiped down, salting has firmed up the flesh nicely. The surface of the meat needs to air dry for a few hours until it develops a shiny layer known as a pellicle and then it’s ready to smoke. If you don’t do this, it has a habit of weeping.
I like my fish heavily smoked so I’m giving them 48 hours in the smoke on a mix of alder and beech. They’ll then need to mellow a few days before they’re ready. The salmon will be eaten thickly sliced and raw ( a lot of it already has ) the kingfish I’m planning on cooking.