Fish need a lot of attention and patience to age at home. If you don’t take the right precautions, the fish can spoil or you might get sick from eating it. But if you follow Chef Steiger’s clear instructions, you’ll soon be enjoying delicate, umami bliss.
- First, Steiger advises that you keep the fillet meat away from any blood or viscera. “The fish should be gutted as soon as it is received, and the gills and any remaining blood along the spine should be cleaned and rinsed off.” Additionally, when opening the fish’s belly, exercise extreme caution to avoid puncturing any of the organs because the liquid that is contained inside could taint or infect the meat.
- It is best to keep fish whole until you are ready to eat it. Try to keep the head, tail, and fillets on the bones after the viscera have been removed so they can continue to age, he advises. “The skin and bones will act as a barrier, reducing the meat’s exposure to oxidation.”
- It’s crucial to keep the fish clean and properly wrapped as it ages. He advises washing the fish in salty water and then rinsing it off with clean, running water if there is any slime or blood on it. “After cleaning, make sure to pat the fish dry with a clean paper towel because moisture encourages the growth of harmful bacteria. After drying, place paper towels within the gill and belly cavities. As the fish ages, this will absorb any extra moisture, keeping the fish dry and clean. To catch any blood that may escape the spine after the head or tail have been removed, wrap the ends in paper towels. The entire fish should then be wrapped in waxed butcher paper and plastic wrap. The oxidation process can be slowed down by wrapping as securely as possible and pushing out any air pockets.”
- Last but not least, be sure to regularly inspect your fish for aging or rotting indicators. The fish should not turn black or brown, should remain dry, should have clean eyes, and spots with crimson blood should remain red. Do not eat the fish if it starts to smell unpleasant, he advises. “Fish should be thrown away if it smells nasty, cheesy, rotten, or otherwise offensive. Other [unfavorable] signs to watch out for include a covering of slime (on the interior or outside of the fish), the meat or blood turning brown or black, or the eyes getting clouded.” He advises letting each fish age for 24 to 48 hours. After the first day, check to see if it still looks okay, and then rewrap the fish in fresh paper and plastic. This will prevent the fish from becoming bad on day two as it ages.
How to make fish that is dry-aged
To ensure that there are no crevices for bacteria to hide, remove scales with a knife. Personally, we prefer to spritz distilled vinegar on the fish skin before wiping it dry.
The next task is to carefully remove the guts and gills. This means that you should leave the fish as nearly complete as you can. Any “trim” will be close to what you would typically trim from your fish if you do this. However, because to the decreased water content, fish skin that has been dry aged for a little period of time is fantastic and crisps up beautifully.
Tip: If your process is perfect, the eye will stay clear if you leave the head on and start with excellent fish.
You may achieve remarkable outcomes with dry-aged fish much more quickly than with beef. This results in significantly less loss, albeit some larger fish may age drastically. However, it’s crucial to take the law of diminishing returns into account when dry aging anything to extremes.
After finishing your dry-aged fish, always clean the locker. Using a solution of baking soda, vinegar, and water is the best way to clean it thoroughly. After cleaning the inside, switch off your dry age refrigerator and leave the door open for a couple of days to let it air out. If necessary, don’t forget to replace the yellow filter.
Can fish be dried out?
Many people want to push the envelope and begin aging fresh fish now that meat lovers all around the world are embracing dry aged meat. It’s well recognized that the dry aging concept and aging technique provide meat greater flavor intensity and depth. However, many people are reluctant to give it a shot since they are uncertain of the outcomes they can start to anticipate.
Fresh fish has a distinct and aromatic allure that is frequently observed at fish and fresh food markets, such as South Melbourne Market or Preston Market in Victoria. In Australia, wild-caught fish and shellfish are frequently used on menus and in numerous dishes. Seafood is a common element at seaside restaurants throughout the warmer months as they compete for the business of diners looking to indulge in the best-tasting fish.
You can introduce a more sophisticated definition of flavor and character by dry aging fish. Very lemon-like and cooling, just as fish is supposed to taste.
We all have our favorite types of fish, but if you want to dry age fish, we advise starting with one of the great four: kingfish, king salmon, branzino, or John Dory.
The fish will taste fresher if it is allowed to dry age for around 7 to 9 days; this will make it go much better with seasonal vegetables and herbs.
Liwei Liao included
Chef Liwei Liao’s 2019 Ora Awards submission astounded us. Liwei transforms dry aging fish into an art form using his catchphrase #freshisboring and helps us see the possibilities dry aging offers.
It was surreal; the salmon’s texture and density were unlike anything I had ever encountered.
Although dry-aged fish can be intimidating to customers, Liao claims “After some instruction, they realize that all they need to do is treat it like fresh fish. They don’t [need to] change anything. Simply put, it’s a better fish.”
“They don’t [need to] change anything. Simply put, it’s a better fish.”
Thursday Technique: Dry-Aged Fish
Fresh fish is the hallmark of a lavish feast in the eyes of the Chinese. But when it comes to cooking the day’s catch, fresher isn’t necessarily better.
Consider going to a fancy sushi restaurant. The optimum way to eat shellfish and oily fish like aji and saba is fresh, however some seafood can benefit from being aged in a dry environment.
When eaten fresh, fish like snapper and sea bream, for instance, have a delicate flavor. However, after two to three days of aging, a rich flavor begins to emerge from the fish.
According to Max Levy, proprietor of Hong Kong’s trendy sushi restaurant Okra, “Fish that tend to have more connective tissue normally benefit more from the technique, since it will help break down those structures and fibres into natural sugars and glutamates.”
When the chef first visited a French restaurant in Tokyo six years ago, he tasted aged and dried fish and immediately noted a difference in flavor. “As a replacement, I had a traditional sole meuniere prepared with hirame (Japanese fluke). Given that the fish was sashimi grade, line-caught, prepared with ikejime, and bled out, all of which should produce a superior dish, it should have been outstanding “Levy adds. However, it was unable to deliver any “fishiness” to contrast with and complement the butter and potent herbs.
He explains that these traditional French dishes were created for fish that wasn’t always kept on ice from catch to delivery and wasn’t always bled.
Fish must be aged in a controlled atmosphere where the temperature and humidity levels are closely managed, just like beef.
When we age beef, larger chunks are used, and the emphasis is more on evaporation, according to Levy.
The fish is typically caught, then killed on the boat using the ike jime technique. The catch is then immediately taken to the restaurant, where it is scaled, gutted, and cleaned in lukewarm salt water. Depending on the thickness of the fish, it is then wrapped in a permeable antimicrobial towel and kept in a box at 4-6 C for a few days.
By day 3, water loss causes the meat to become thicker but firmer. The proteins, lipids, and glucose glycogen in the meat start to be broken down into amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars by the enzymes in the muscle cells. Additionally, glutamate, the essential component that creates umami flavor, has dramatically increased.
Every day, the fish is examined and washed to stop the growth of foreign enzymes and moods.
What is the ideal way to enjoy this fish? Combine its recently acquired flavors with fatty foods like butter and foie gras. “The finest seafood to pair with animal fats is dry-aged fish. The fish’s increased savoriness allows it to complement stronger flavors, “Levy argues.
Additionally, the young chef likes to dry-age sashimi-grade fish for extended periods of time before employing them in straightforward vegetable and seaweed soups.
The dry-aged otoro with sea grapes and a butter we prepare from toasted nori seaweed is one dish we occasionally serve at the sushi bar, he says. We can envision how nicely this combo functions as a whole.
How long can salmon be dry aged?
For a salmon, we would only want to dry age our fish in the steak locker for a maximum of 50 days. On the other side, we would advise as few as 15 days for smaller dry aged fish.
Can a fish fillet be dried aged?
To successfully dry-age food at home, Liao advises purchasing high-quality fish from a reputable fishmonger. If you are a fisherman, you should absolutely dry age the cleaned fish. Before making the first cut, Liao like to let each fish age for four to seven days.