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How to: dry-aged fish

Just like aging a great piece of beef, aging fish helps intensify the flavor and enhances the texture of the meat. And while shellfish as well as most oily fish are better consumed fresh, certain species of fish can benefit from going through the process of dry-ageing.

In terms of fish, age means more flavor. The aging tenderizes the meat and enhances the natural flavor components, especially because the moisture level is reduced during the process.

What happens when you dry-age fish?

When fish is aging, the amino acid chains break down and intensifies the rich, umami flavor that seafood is known for. Enzymes located in muscle cells of the fish start to break down protein, fats and glycogen into sugars and different amino and fatty acids, while flavors such as umami and that certain shellfish bitterness develop during the process, with the moisture reduction helping them along. These enzymes also break down connective tissues, making the meat more tender and more palatable.  

How our method was developed

How our method was developed

Our method for dry-aging has been carefully developed by our product developer Pernille Jacobsen, who is responsible for our chilled range such as our premium smoked fish, cold-water prawns in brine and lumpfish roe. Pernille is one of our in-house chefs, handling everything from product samples to development of new products such as dry-aged fish – a method that has been carefully tested across species and carefully adjusted for an optimal result; a flavorful, tender piece of fish perfect for an appetizer.

How to dry-age

When you dive into dry-ageing your own fish, the most important thing is a fish of high quality – whether it is single frozen or fresh is less important – the key is quality.

For this example, Pernille has chosen to work with Nutaaq® cod, but dry-aging will work across many species of fish. However, fatty fish is trickier, and we do not recommend going for e.g. salmon on your first try. Save this for your third or fourth time.

Pernille carefully covers the cod with a mix of salt and sugar.

Nutaaq® is an ideal candidate for dry-aging because of the lean meat, high level of moisture and freshness.

  • Start by skinning the fillet. We recommend skinning the cod when frozen for a perfect result (watch our video guide here)
  • Place the cod fillet on a grate over a 1/1 gastro tray and let it defrost overnight at 2° C
  • Once the cod is defrosted, remove the pin bones.
  • Do a mix of salt and sugar (the ratio between the two is optional and should be done to your liking) and sprinkle it on both sides of the fillet.
  • Place the cod on a clean grate over a 1/1 gastro tray. Do not cover or wrap the fish, as it will be unable to dry and drip excess fluids.
  • Put it back in the fridge at 2° C for 2-3 days (or even longer), depending on how firm you prefer the meat.

The result is a cod fillet with firmer meat and a fresh sea salty taste with enhanced umami and sweetness and a bright, transparent milk-like color. You can slice it thin like carpaccio, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with lime zest, flakes of parmesan and top it with arugula - serve it with bread.