Don’t get me wrong, leaving a fillet in the fridge for a week and then frying it up is not going to be better than cooking it the night of catching it, but if you can get a few small things right during the aging process, you are in for a treat.
My technique is in no way the “proper way”, but through study and lots of trial and error, I have found a foolproof way to do it.
First, you need to understand how this works. Dry aging fish is in essence removing the moisture to create a more tender and flavourful taste. This is what’s known in Japan as umami. To give it a go, you are going to need paper towels. Lots of paper towels.
This is a great way to keep fish for longer without having to freeze it. When you freeze fish, you may notice it becomes a bit soft once it defrosts. This is because the flesh is made up of roughly 60% water and when water freezes, it expands and tears the flesh.
– Joel Hodgson, Natures Kai
1) Place your fillet/s on some towels and pat dry as much surface moisture as possible.
2) Lay down a few sheets of new paper towels, place the fish on them and fold the towels over so the fillet is encased.
3) Cover on a plate with a plastic kitchen wrap or put into a snap lock bag and squeeze out the air. Refrigerate.
4) Repeat steps 1-3 the following day.
5) After changing the wrap once, repeat after four days and it should be good for a further three days.
6) I like to eat the fish at somewhere between 7-10 days into the process. If you want to go longer you can. Just keep checking the paper and if it becomes soaked, change it.
When Joel submitted this for publication I thought I would give it a test. I first encountered the method while in Hawaii when I was given a section of yellowfin tuna loin wrapped in paper towels. It kept for many days in pristine condition. When trying the method on four good-sized snapper fillets, the results were the same. We were still eating the fish a week later and the taste was superb. Give it a shot! – GD