Two of the hottest culinary trends at the moment emanate from Scandinavia and South America. If you want to have a go at these – and sashimi – at home, here’s how….
If you fancy making your own sashimi, your fish has to be very, very fresh from a premium fish. In addition to tuna and salmon, mackerel, Hamachi yellowtail and seabass are good, traditional sashimi ingredients.
Start with a skinned and pinboned fillet, with any fat or membrane removed so you are left with a very pure, clean looking fillet. Using a clean knife and chopping board, slice the fish into strips of c.1-2cm, on a 450 angle and arrange on a plate. Serve with your wasabi, soy and ginger accompaniments.
Curing fish with salt: making Gravadlax
Salting fish has traditionally been used as a preservative, but chefs have become increasingly inventive with new takes on old recipes.
To make a classic gravadlax, you will need two large, matching salmon (or trout) fillets of at least 500g each, skin-on, pinboned and trimmed of any fat or membrane.
Whilst a traditional cure is made by a mixture of coarse sea salt, sugar, dill and freshly ground black pepper, additional flavours from beetroot, vodka and horseradish are modern twists. Using a ceramic dish, scatter a layer of the cure in the bottom of the dish and lay one fillet, skin-side down, on the salt, then cover the top of the fillet with a generous amount of the cure. Place the second fillet on top, skin-side up, and cover again with the remainder of the cure. Put a weighted board on top and leave in the fridge for three days, every day turning the ‘fillet sandwich’ over and baste the fish in its accumulated juices.
Once the fish is cured, rinse and pat dry with a kitchen paper. Slice thinly before serving. Unused fillets will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge, and it can be frozen.
Marinating fish by pickling: rollmop herrings
Like salting, pickling fish in vinegar is a centuries-old preservation method. Today, it has evolved into a sophisticated starter with a big flavour. Before you start, it is worth spending money on a decent vinegar - like cider vinegar or a good quality wine vinegar – as a cheap malt vinegar is much too acidic for this delicacy.
You will need one herring per person – skin-on, scaled, filleted and pinboned - and 10g salt per fish. Dissolve the salt in a litre of water and add the fillets. Leave in the fridge for 3 hours.
Create a pickling marinade of cider vinegar, allspice berries, peppercorns, bay leaves, light brown sugar and an onion. Drain the fillets from the brine and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Roll them up from tail end to head end and pack into sterilized jars, pour in the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 3 days. They will keep to up to a month.
Marinating fish in citrus juice: ceviche
Peruvian food has been one of the hottest food trends in 2012, with two restaurants opening in London, Ceviche in Soho and Lima in Fitzrovia. One of its most famous dishes - ceviche or citrus cured fish - is really easy to make. Your starting point always has to be very fresh fish. Scallops, seabass, bream or monkfish work best.
Your fish needs to be filleted, skinned and pinboned. Slice it as thinly as you can and lay over a large platter. Make your marinade with a combination of lime juice, chilli, coriander and onion, pour over the fish and leave in the fridge for an hour and it is ‘cooked’.