Which fish are good cold-smoked and eaten raw?

Which fish are good cold-smoked and eaten raw?

Postby kevster » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:39 pm

Hi all
I was just wondering which fish are good cold-smoked and eaten raw? There are the obvious ones...salmon and trout. But what else works? I am assuming tuna might...but I'm avoiding tuna on the grounds that I don't want to be part of their over-fishing. Will it work with oily fish, such as mackerel? How about dogfish....which seems to have a similar cooked texture to salmon, although the taste is clearly different? Would a very dense flat fish such as halibut work?
Cheers for any help
Kev
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Postby Ryan C » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:02 pm

Hi Kev,
That's a great question! I built myself a cold smoker last winter and I would love to hear what other members have to say about this. As well as Salmon and trout, I've tried scallops, oysters, mackerel and herring. The scallops were delicious raw but I must say that the texture could have been better so I pan fried the next batch after cold-smoking and they were a revelation! The mackerel and herring were OK but a bit bland. However the oysters were absolutely F#@£ing brilliant!! Once I'd opened them I was a bit worried that the juice would prevent the smoke reaching the oyster meat so I poured it off into a bowl and mixed it with a little diced shallot, lemon juice and ginger beer (I love oysters and ginger beer!). I didn't even take the oysters out of their shells, I just loosened them and flipped the little buggers over to give them about an hour and a half on each side under some light smoke.
I don't see why the likes of dogfish or halibut wouldn't be good, but I do know that here in Scotland a lot of people eat cold-smoked haddock but it is always cooked first and added to things like fishcakes or Cullen Skink (a kind of smoky fish and potato soup). I have tried raw cold-smoked haddock but again the texture was poor and the flavour a bit bland.

I remember a couple of years ago Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall experimented with cold smoking several different fish on one of his shows but I cant seem to find it anywhere. I'm sure it was part of the River Cottage: Gone Fishing series but annoyingly its no longer available on 4od. maybe you could find the DVD. Anyway, I don't think they found any white fish that even came close to salmon and trout.

Good luck and remember to watch your temperatures if you do try smoking any shellfish.

Ryan
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Postby Ryan C » Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:46 pm

Kev,
not long after writing that I turned on the T.V. to find River Cottage: Gone Fishing was on More 4. It seems they repeat the series regularly. Set your recorder.

Ryan
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Postby kevster » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:59 am

Ohhh yes. Now you mention it, I do seem to remember the program. They tried cold smoked bass, mullet and launce. I seem to remember they only really liked the bass....and I can't say as I really approve of eating mullet given how long they take to grow.

I seem to remember liking the idea of a smoked bass carpaccio.

Smoked oysters also sound cracking...although, like you, I'm not to sure about raw. I'll have to look into how to find them. I'm off to anglesey for a week soon and I seem to remember there are some places there to find them.

I presume the same thing could work for mussels?
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Postby Ryan C » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:48 am

kev,
The oysters I did were raw but I'm sure they would also be excellent cooked. however, at this time of year it will be difficult to keep your smoking chamber cool enough to ensure safe smoking.
Bass carpaccio sounds great :shock: ! I know some European countries do an unsmoked version of this in which they use a heavily spiced cure but be sure to get a large enough fish so as to be able to carve nice, big slivers.
As for mussels, hot smoked ones are common (you can even get tinned ones from the supermarket - yeuch) but if you want to cold smoke them you'll find they are a huge pain-in-the-arse to get them out of their shells raw. I did consider these last winter but after struggling to smash the first one open, then spending ages picking out bits of shell, I thought bugger it! Moules Marinere it is.
It's great that you're trying to collect your own, let me know how you get on with the oysters as i've never been able to collect any myself (I think you'll need a snorkel and mask and some pretty keen eyesight). mussels are easy though, the best way is to wait for low tide and collect them from the rocks. bigger mussels are found, furthest from the tide line. Also, try to avoid mussels near sandy beaches or ones near the bottom of the rocks as they tend to pick up bits of grit which the mussel grows around and so are impossible to remove.
If it's a shoreline forage you fancy, might I also recommend razor clams, which are so tasty I cant understand why everyone doesn't eat them, and once you know how, they are quite easy to find and abundant. also barnacles are great if stewed for a reasonable amount of time to tenderise them. the trick is to cook them in their shells for a couple of minutes, then remove them from the shells and separate the meaty foot from the entrails. It is quite tough at this stage but like squid or octopus, becomes deliciously tender once stewed.

Best of luck with your seafront adventure

Ryan
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Postby Richierich » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:31 am

I wish I was closer to the coast, not much free food floating around Oxfordshire, not withstanding the odd Blackberry, although I imagine if you know where to look....can anyone recommend any good sources of information for hedgerow foraging etc.?

Anybody fancy a sausagemaking.org beach trip and seafood hunt? Probably best not organised by a land locked Oxfordshire dweller.
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Postby wheels » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:55 am

HFW does some books:

http://www.rivercottage.net/Category225 ... tials.aspx

As for free food in Oxon, there must be plenty; how about elderflowers/berries, hips, haws, blackberries, rowanberries, sloes, wild damsons, crab apples, cherries, rabbits, zander(?) and other river fish, lake trout(?), crayfish, nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts etc), food from neighbours/friends trees (many people can't be bothered to pick their fruit - be cheeky and just ask), mushrooms, sorrel and other wild salads.

Regrettably, I can't get to these things to get most of them, but my Dad is a master at it - he picks all sorts of stuff from elderly (...and other) neighbours who are only to glad to have someone pick them for a few in return (or a pot of jam, bottle of home-made wine etc). He's also our 'master blackberry/sloe picker'.

Sorry, I'm not meaning to lecture, but given the necessary information I bet you'll be amazed at how much there is out there for the taking. :D :D

Phil
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Postby Richierich » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:05 pm

wheels wrote:HFW does some books:

http://www.rivercottage.net/Category225 ... tials.aspx

As for free food in Oxon, there must be plenty; how about elderflowers/berries, hips, haws, blackberries, rowanberries, sloes, wild damsons, crab apples, cherries, rabbits, zander(?) and other river fish, lake trout(?), crayfish, nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts etc), food from neighbours/friends trees (many people can't be bothered to pick their fruit - be cheeky and just ask), mushrooms, sorrel and other wild salads.

Regrettably, I can't get to these things to get most of them, but my Dad is a master at it - he picks all sorts of stuff from elderly (...and other) neighbours who are only to glad to have someone pick them for a few in return (or a pot of jam, bottle of home-made wine etc). He's also our 'master blackberry/sloe picker'.

Sorry, I'm not meaning to lecture, but given the necessary information I bet you'll be amazed at how much there is out there for the taking. :D :D

Phil


Phil,

Didn't take it as a lecture. I have looked in to crayfish, I believe the streams and canals close to where I am have the signal cray in them, however I do not think I would be able to "fish" regularly enough for them, my concern is that by catching a few of the larger territorial male crays I create a population explosion with whats left. I would look to fish in the smaller quieter parts of the water - I know it is possible, even downloaded the form from Env. Agency. Maybe I should stop being so bloody honest and just do it, same as with supplying stuff to friends etc.

As far as river fish are concerned, I am not a big fan of freshwater fish.

I quite fancy the idea of fruit, nuts etc. I am in a relatively lucky position to have plenty of countryside around, I don't like the thought of a 10 minute+ drive to go fishing etc.

Will have a look at HFW's stuff.

Thanks!

Rich
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Postby wheels » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:40 pm

Rich

I agree about the crayfish - the jury is out on whether fishing them does more harm than good. My own view is that whatever we do isn't likely to change anything, they're here to stay!

I understand that Zander don't suffer from the 'river fish taste' problem - they're said to be more like sea fish. Mum and Dad had it in Germany earlier this year and said how nice it was. I'm still waiting for one of my mates to catch one for me though! :evil: In many waters it's classed as a pest so it may be available - pike's not to bad either but has vicious bones. IMO It's best done as quenelles:

http://www.fishing-in-france.com/french ... quenelles/

From what I get my hands on I've made sloe gin and blackberry jam/jelly, numerous pies, and crab apple/elderberry/blackberry wine from wild stuff. I've also made loads of rhubarb(y) things, pickled walnuts (Dad's got a tree!) and various vegetable dishes from donated items. Not forgetting the superb trout that a neighbour used to give me for smoking.

One other forage-able thing I forgot is horse-radish, there's plenty of that about - I now have a foraged root growing in a manhole ring - don't plant it in the garden unless you want a garden that's all horse-radish!

Good hunting.

Phil
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Postby Ryan C » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:23 pm

Richierich,
A sausagmaking.org beach trip :shock: :D :D I'm there with bells on!
As for a wild food forage, Wheels is absolutely right, there is so much out there and right now is peak season! In the past fortnight I've foraged strawberries, raspberries, blaeberries(whinberries), several different types of cherries, redcurrants, porcini and other mushrooms and right now I'm still hungover from drinking my homemade elderflower wine last night(It only took a week to make and cost £1.68 for just under 16 litres!!- 69p for sugar & 99p for yeast).
I suggest you buy a mushroom identifier book for a couple of quid (or look at one of the many online sites for free). The one I prefer is 'Easy edible mushroom guide' by Prof David Pegler. It's good and clear, has photos, a recipe guide and best of all it has lookalikes on each page so you dont get mixed up with any nasties! I've had a quick look and it's on amazon for about seven quid with delivery. As well as that, I love Ray Mears' Wild Food book, it's absolutely fascinating and lists hundreds of plants, mushrooms, animals, berries etc.
It makes me sad that if all the supermarkets in Britain were to close down then half the population would starve. In France you can spend a day gathering mushrooms then take them to any chemists shop and the chemist will pick out any poisonous or nasty tasting ones and give you the names. Where did it all go so wrong for us?
Anyway, Richierich, a safe, easy and hugely rewarding way to start is by looking for Porcini mushrooms (Boletes). Boletes are identified through a spongy layer under the cap where you would normally find gills. If the spongy layer, stem or cap is red, clay or pink - Then DONT eat it. otherwise all other boletes are edible. If the spongy layer is a lemony yellow and it bruises bright blue, it is a bay bolete(delicious). If it is slightly paler and doesn't bruise blue then it is a Penny Bun Bolete (Porcini - king of mushrooms in Italy). Last week I found a penny bun whose cap was about a foot in diameter, it fed me for three days!! :D :D
You'll find these mushrooms in coniferous woodland growing quite close to the base of the trees(preferably but not exclusively in sandy soils) and Bay Boletes prefer a sprinkling of silver birch amongst the pines.
One thing though Richie, when you find these boletes, please cut off the spongy layer (it peels off easily) and leave it in the woods. This layer contains the spores so if you want to keep returning to that spot year after year it is best to harvest in a sustainable fashion. If you find a good woodland it can provide you with A YEARS WORTH of mushrooms in return for just a few hours of picking - probably best to brush up on your pickling and drying techniques!

Happy hunting

Ryan

BTW you'll find that wandering about woodland is a great way to accidentally stumble upon apple trees, blackberries, raspberries etc.
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Postby Richierich » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:10 pm

I am going to have to have a think about that Ryan, I don't think I have too many coniferous woodlands locally, tbh there's not a lot of woodland round Bicester, there's one place that is just up the road, but I have heard of other things going on in the undergrowth rather than mushroom foraging, and besides - I don't have a dog. :wink:

We have a lot of fields around and about, mostly arable with the odd bit of pasture, gonna have to dig my OS maps out later.......
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Postby Ryan C » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:00 pm

Richierich,
I dont think a dog is required for that kind of undegrowth activity - unless I'm getting a bit old and frumpy!.... well I'll try anything once :wink:
As for mushroom foraging in pastures, I would definitely avoid that until you get a bit more experience as some field mushrooms can be very dangerous yet look very similar to perfectly innocent ones.

Ryan
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Postby Richierich » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:28 pm

Ryan C wrote:Richierich,
I dont think a dog is required for that kind of undegrowth activity - unless I'm getting a bit old and frumpy!.... well I'll try anything once :wink:
As for mushroom foraging in pastures, I would definitely avoid that until you get a bit more experience as some field mushrooms can be very dangerous yet look very similar to perfectly innocent ones.

Ryan


Just make sure the dogs nose isn't too cold. :lol: :wink:
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Postby kevster » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:57 pm

River Cottage do an excellent starters book on mushrooms.
There are also some good websites for advice:
http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/
http://forum.downsizer.net/forum-26.htm ... deee616b5f

Kev
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Postby grisell » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:50 pm

I do a lot of mushroom hunting and have done so all my life.


The only really deadly ones are:

Destroying Angel, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destroying_angel(and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_phalloides which is similar, but olive green). These are the most poisonous mushrooms known, and one specimen may well be lethal. There is no antidote! White and olive green mushrooms should be avoided altogether by amateurs. Note the frightening resemblance with the usual Champingon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agaricus !

Lethal webcaps, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lethal_webcaps There are hundreds of species of webcaps, some of them delicious, some of them deadly poisonous. Webcaps are avoided even by experts.

Any mushrooms that show the slightest resemblance with these above should be avoided! Don't pick juvenile mushrooms as they can be difficult to identify safely!

--------------------------------


Now for the good part: The most delicious mushrooms can not be confused with poisonous ones.

The easiest ones to start with (and that never can be confused with poisonous species):

Chanterelles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanterelle (if you can find them in the UK, I don't know, most likely in Scotland perhaps)

Porcini, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boletus_edulis

Suillus Luteus (Butter Bolete?), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suillus_luteus

(As Ryan C wrote, boletes are identified by a spongy layer instead of gills under the cap. There are no poisonous boletes, although some taste utterly bitter. Unfortunately, boletes are often affected by larvae. These must be discarded)

Puffballs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffball when young and firm. Cut them in half lengthwise so you can make sure that there is no inner structure at all.

Hedgehog Mushroom, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydnum_repandum can not be confused with anything else - for once Wikipedia is wrong here, the Sarcodon Scabrosus can hardly be confused with it. The latter is dark brown!

For the hedonist: False Morel, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyromitra_esculenta is proven carcinogenic. Consumption is said to be comparative to tobacco smoking. It's clearly acutely poisonous in its raw state and must be parboiled twice for 5 min each in new water, which is discarded, before further preparation. Make sure the kitchen is well ventilated during parboiling since the steam is toxic. When correctly prepared, some (like me) consider it the most delicious mushroom in the world. It's our equivalent of the Japanes Fugu or pufferfish. Sale of it is banned in many European countries (in Sweden it can only be sold to restaurants).

I think that will do for a start. :wink:

-----------------------------


All mushrooms should be cleaned with a brush, halved to make sure there are no larvae and very quickly rinsed. Don't rinse if it's unnecessary. It makes them slimy. Then cooked. Don't eat them raw - it's not dangerous except for the false morel but your stomach will probably disapprove. Hedgehog mushrooms and false morels should always be parboiled in salted water for 5 minutes. Other species can be sauteed or otherwise cooked directly.

Most mushrooms can be dried. Exceptions include the chanterelle. Puffballs and porcini are especially delicious when sliced thinly and dried. If you plan on drying false morels, the room should be ventilated as they emit toxic gases.

Mushrooms can also be frozen. The best method is to boil them with no extra liquid until all water has evaporated before freezing. You'll be surprised how little is left!

There are numerous recipes for pickled mushrooms.

Mushroom hunting is a rewarding hobby. You get exercise, fresh air, knowledge and food! :D (and mosquito bites and ticks etc :( ). Please try it and good luck!

Just remember the old saying "There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters, but no old and bold mushroom hunters".

I'm sure there are mushroom associations where you live. They are usually very hepful as a first step.
André

I have a simple taste - I'm always satisfied with the best.
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