Better Than in the Store: How to Salt Red Fish Deliciously

Usually, we buy lightly salted red fish: either we are used to doing so, or we do not have time to cook. Most often, though, we just don’t know how to salt fish at home.

How to choose fish for salting

You can salt any fish – salmon, trout, pink salmon, chum salmon – it depends on your preferences. If you like fattier fish with oily meat – pick salmon and trout, salmon and chum salmon have fatless meat, even dry.

Both whole fish and fillets can be salted. It is easier and cheaper to buy fish fillets on the skin, and do not bother with the cutting. Here is an important point: fillets without skin to pickle will not work.

The fish does not have to be fresh; you can salt frozen fish as well, but you have to defrost it in the refrigerator before salting. When choosing a frozen fish, make sure that there is no ice on it and that it has a natural color.

How to salt red fish – dry salting

There are two ways to salt fish: dry and wet.

Dry salting is the classic method. Only dry ingredients are used for it: salt, sugar, and spices. You rub them on the fish, put it in a bowl, and put it under the burden. Alternatively, the fish can be wrapped in foil or cling film.

Sometimes in dry salting can use liquid components: for example, instead of sugar add orange juice.

For dry salting take 2 tbsp. salt and 1 tbsp. sugar per 1 kg of filet. If desired, you can add ground black or white pepper, and dill.

The salting process takes at least 12 hours, but if you want a more salty fish, leave it for a day.

How to salt redfish in brine – wet salting

Wet salting is a method where the fish is poured into brine (water + salt + sugar). Sometimes they substitute sugar with honey which makes the fish taste much more delicate.

It is especially good to cook in brine low-fat fish – pink salmon and chum salmon. By the way, this method is used for the quick salting of fish pieces.

For the brine for 1 liter of water take 3 tbsp. salt and 1 tbsp. sugar. You can add bay peppers, peas of oregano or black pepper, and cloves if you wish. Bring the brine to a boil, and then let it cool.

Fish in brine should be left for at least 6 hours, it can be longer, depending on the size of the piece and your taste preferences.

How to salt redfish in 2 hours – express salting

You need to cut the fish into thin slices (about 5 mm) and pour the brine on it for 1-2 hours. Then take the fish out of the brine, grease it with vegetable oil, and leave it in the fridge for another hour.

How to salt red fish properly – 5 main points

And a few more rules of salting, which we advise you to adhere to:

  • You need to use coarse salt, you can use sea salt.
  • With dry salting, the fish should be rubbed with salt on all sides, and the skin too.
  • Sugar can not be added, but it helps maintain the density and shape of the fish, makes the taste more delicate, and reveals it.
  • For salting, it is better to take glass, enamel, and ceramic dishes – metal fish can have an unpleasant taste.
  • Lightly salted fish should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 3 days.

Professional chefs do not advise storing lightly salted fish longer. It is better to cook it in small portions, and if necessary, salt it again.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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