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Halibut or sole is a very tasty fish that resembles a greatly enlarged flounder. It is prepared in different ways, most often it turns out to be a real delicacy. Cold smoked halibut is distinguished not only by its excellent taste, it is also very healthy.
Product value and composition
Cold smoked halibut is not only a delicacy, but also a highly valuable food product. It belongs to the category of "white" northern marine fish. The meat is very tender, soft and fatty, there are practically no bones in it.
Important! According to nutritionists and culinary experts, blue-baked halibut is healthier than white halibut. But it is less common, which naturally affects the price.
Halibut, in moderation, can be consumed even by those who have chronic diseases of the digestive system or follow a diet.
Meat contains many vitamins, macro- and microelements necessary for a person. The presence of vitamins can be especially noted:
- group B;
The most valuable macronutrients that sea fish are traditionally rich in:
The human body does not synthesize many microelements on its own, the only way to obtain them is "from the outside":
Important! Such a composition, with the regular inclusion of the product in the diet, allows you to quickly restore immunity after serious illnesses and surgical interventions. The product is extremely beneficial for strengthening bones and maintaining good vision.
BJU and calorie content of cold smoked halibut
These indicators depend on its species and habitat. The fish can be white-barked and blue-brown - it is easy to determine by the shade of its belly. As for the second factor, the farther north the halibut is caught, the more fat in the meat and, accordingly, the higher the indicator. The calorie content of cold smoked halibut per 100 grams varies between 190-250 kcal.
The product does not contain carbohydrates, but at the same time it is rich in proteins and fats. The content of the first is 11.3-18.9 g, the second - 15-20.5 g per 100 g. As a percentage of the daily ration at a rate of 2000 kcal, this is, respectively, 24 and 27%.
Why cold smoked halibut is useful
It is rich in protein and fat at a relatively low calorie content. Cold smoked fish retains about 90% of vitamins, macro- and microelements. Also, meat contains a high concentration of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.
The body does not synthesize these substances on its own. And they are extremely useful and provide:
- prevention of oncological, cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory processes;
- strengthening of cell membranes;
- normalization of blood cholesterol levels;
- slowing down the aging process.
The microelements and vitamins contained in cold smoked halibut are essential for protecting the body from free radicals, removing toxins and toxins. They also provide the prevention of diseases of the musculoskeletal system and the central nervous system, including those caused by age-related neuronal degradation.
Important! Despite all the potential benefits, the product is contraindicated in chronic liver and kidney disease.
Selection and preparation of fish
The choice of quality carcasses is a determining factor for those who want to get really tasty fish. Immediately alarming is the low price. They also pay attention to:
- Shelf life. Fresh fish can be kept in the refrigerator for no more than 7 days.
- The color and firmness of the meat. It should not be yellowish, greenish or brownish, only white. When pressed with a finger, the dent quickly disappears without a trace. Loose, “crumbling” meat is a clear sign of repeated defrosting and re-cooling.
- Aroma. Really fresh halibut has a distinct "sea" smell. It is impossible to determine its presence after defrosting, but the meat should not smell rotten. In no case should you use it for smoking.
- Scales. With high quality "raw materials", it is smooth and shiny, as if wet.
- The weight. No need to take a carcass weighing more than 3-5 kg. Even after cutting, the thick layer of meat will not be completely smoked.
Important! You should not buy fish that are practically invisible under a layer of snow and ice. Most likely, this is an attempt to hide the poor quality of the product.
It is impossible to get a delicacy from low-quality raw materials
In order for the finished product to be tasty and aromatic, the fish must be properly prepared for processing. Defrost it gradually, on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Wait until the ice has completely melted and the meat becomes soft. You can slightly speed up the process if you put the carcass in ice water for 2-3 hours.
Large fish are pre-cut into pieces 6-10 cm thick. If the carcass weighs less than 2.5-3 kg, they simply gut it, cut off the head and tail.
How to salt halibut for cold smoking
The recipe for cold smoked halibut at home provides for preliminary salting of fish. The following ingredients are required (per 1 kg):
- water (1 l);
- coarse salt (6 tbsp. l.);
- granulated sugar (2 tbsp. l.);
- bay leaf (3-4 pcs.);
- black and allspice pepper (15 peas each).
Important! Additional ingredients to taste - fennel seeds, juniper berries, dry herbs (parsley, dill, rosemary). You can also add the juice of 1-2 lemons to the brine.
Water with the addition of all spices is brought to a boil and cooled under a closed lid to room temperature. Then the pieces are poured with it so that they are completely covered with brine, and they are left in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, turning over several times a day.
At the end of salting, the fish is poured with clean water for 2-3 hours, getting rid of excess salt. The liquid needs to be changed every hour.
The final stage of preparation is drying. Immediately before the process, the halibut is wiped dry with paper towels, napkins or a clean cloth and ventilated in the fresh air for 3-4 hours. Insects flock to the smell of fish, so you need to think over the mechanism of protection against them in advance.
If there is no time to wait, you can resort to "dry" salting of halibut for cold smoking. No water is needed here. All other ingredients are mixed, rubbed evenly over the pieces and left in the refrigerator for 12 hours. After that, the fish is rinsed, but not rinsed in water and also dried.
Important! Drying time is determined by the type of halibut skin. When it starts to turn gray and dry, you can start the cold smoking procedure.
How to smoke cold smoked halibut
Cold smoked halibut requires a “precision” smoker that can create and maintain a constant, relatively low temperature. Therefore, it needs additional structural elements - a generator and a pipe supplying warm air to the "compartment" where fish is smoked.
In the smokehouse
The classic recipe for cold smoked halibut:
- The washed and well-dried fish is placed in a smokehouse, placing the pieces on a wire rack in one layer so that they do not come into contact with each other.
- At a constant temperature of 20-25 ° C, it is treated with smoke for 4 hours.
- After that, the pieces are removed, quickly sprayed with water from a spray bottle, if desired, sprinkle moderately and sent back to the smokehouse. The delicacy will be ready in another 18 hours.
To control the temperature in the smokehouse, it is recommended to use a special thermometer, its constant value is very important.
Important! In comparison with other fish, halibut smokes faster - in just a day. But the process cannot be interrupted for a long time so that the product does not deteriorate.
The use of "liquid smoke" allows you to quickly cook cold-smoked halibut at home. But this substance is not recommended to be abused, it contains carcinogens. The taste of fish cooked by this method practically does not differ from the "classic" one.
Required ingredients for cold smoking 1 kg of liquid smoke halibut:
- water (about 400 ml);
- juice of 1-2 lemons;
- "Liquid smoke" (maximum 50 ml);
- salt (3 tbsp. l.);
- granulated sugar (1 tsp);
- onion peels (1-2 handfuls).
Prepare it like this:
- Washed and dried portions of halibut are rubbed with a mixture of salt and sugar, poured over with lemon juice.
- They put them in any bowl, put them in the refrigerator for three days, turning the contents of the container several times a day.
- Boil onion skins in water. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature.
- The pieces are washed, poured with this broth for an hour so that the liquid covers them completely.
- Having taken out from the container, the halibut is dried with napkins or a towel. Using a silicone cooking brush, apply liquid smoke as evenly as possible.
- During the day, the fish is kept in a draft, providing constant ventilation. Any container for draining fat is placed under it.
Important! Cold-smoked halibut is prepared using this method “at an accelerated pace”, but it also spoils faster. You can store it for a maximum of 4-5 days.
How cold smoked halibut smells
The smell of cold smoked halibut mainly depends on what was used as "firewood" in the smokehouse. Most often, chips or branches of alder, hazel, bird cherry, fruit trees (apple, cherry) are laid in it. To enhance the aroma, add a little dried or fresh juniper berries, caraway seeds. Also for this, chips of oak barrels are used, in which cognac and whiskey were aged.
It is by its aroma that you can distinguish a halibut cooked in the “classical” way from the one smoked in “liquid smoke”. In the first case, the smell is subtle, delicate, in the second, it is noticeably sharper.
Smoked halibut not only looks and smells more natural
With what cold smoked halibut is eaten
Cold smoked halibut is quite “self-sufficient”, when served it can act as an independent second course. But most often a side dish of vegetables is added to it. The classic option in this case is mashed potatoes.
Men appreciate this fish as a beer snack. As such, it is used in the form of slicing or on toasts, sandwiches.
Cold smoked halibut is also in demand as an ingredient in salads. Good companions for him:
- lettuce leaves;
- fresh cucumbers;
- sun-dried tomatoes;
- boiled eggs;
- cheeses such as feta cheese, feta;
- green pea.
Important! For salad dressing, a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice is best.
There are a lot of cold smoked halibut salad recipes, but it is quite possible to invent your own
Difference between cold and hot smoked halibut
The hot-smoked halibut, in comparison with the cold-cooked fish, has a richer aroma and retains the maximum fat content. Exposure to high temperatures (80-120 ° C) guarantees the destruction of all parasites. Halibut is prepared faster (about 2 hours), does not require preliminary preparation, specific construction of the smokehouse and special skills.
However, a significant part of nutrients is lost in the process. And the shelf life of hot smoked halibut is shorter - only 2-4 days.
There are also noticeable differences in the "consistency" of the meat. When smoked cold, it is denser, more elastic, you need to make an effort to separate it from the bones. Hot-cooked fish is soft and crumbly.
Hot-smoked halibut even needs to be bandaged, otherwise the fish will crumble in the process
How to store cold smoked halibut
It is recommended to cook cold smoked halibut in small portions. It is just that fish smoked in the "classical" way will stay in the refrigerator for 8-10 days. Halibut cooked using "liquid smoke" is half the size. After the specified period, it is strongly discouraged to eat it. The minimum "shelf life" is due to the high fat content of the fish.
If for any reason storing cold smoked halibut in the refrigerator is not possible, there are alternative storage options:
- In a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Each piece of fish is wrapped in a clean natural cloth soaked in a strong saline solution (about 20% concentration).
- In a basement or cellar at a temperature close to 0 ° C. Halibut pieces are placed in a wooden box or cardboard box, the bottom of which is lined with gauze dipped in saline solution. Cover it on top with it. Fresh nettle leaves can be used instead of gauze.
Important! When using these methods, cold smoked halibut is stored for at least 4-5 days longer than in the refrigerator.
Is it possible to freeze cold smoked halibut
Freezing significantly extends the shelf life of cold smoked halibut. But after defrosting, it slightly loses in taste and health. Re-freezing of fish is strictly prohibited.
At a temperature of about -5 ° C, the shelf life increases to a month, at -20-30 ° C - up to two. At the same time, humidity is very important, it must be maintained at a level of 75-80%. After the specified time, the halibut dries up and almost completely loses its characteristic taste and aroma.
Cold smoked halibut is literally a delicacy, prized for its large size (the fish is easy to cook and cut), excellent taste and health benefits that are largely preserved during processing. The cooking process is not so complicated, you can even do without special equipment. However, it should be noted that cold smoked halibut is stored for a relatively short time and is not combined with all products.
Reviews of cold smoked halibut
Sergey Alekseev, 37 years old, Vladivostok.
Cold smoked halibut is very good, I can say the same about fried and stewed fish. But, of course, the carcass must be taken fresh and large, weighing at least 2-2.5 kg. Salt in a pre-dry way, for about 60 hours.
Tamara Savchuk, 42 years old, St. Petersburg
In our family, everyone simply adores fish, but the most favorite is halibut. We prepare it ourselves, we practice both cold and hot smoking. But I still like the first option better. The fish turns out to be very tender and soft, retains its fat content, acquires an amazing aroma.
Stepan Semenov, 53 years old, Stavropol
I like to pamper myself with cold smoked halibut, especially in combination with a frothy drink or boiled potatoes. The taste is very delicate and rich, but not harsh. The meat is fragrant, it just melts in your mouth.