Francie’s Fabulous Fermented Fish

I must admit, I was a little green when my dear friend Francie called with her news of her surprise catch of salmon. Wow! Gifts come when you least expect it, and what a gift. She sent me an email of one of the amazing creations she came up with for using the salmon, and graciously agreed to do a guest post on one of her recipes..

I did have to laugh at her description of my refrigerator: “whose fridge is always brimming with deliciously interesting mixtures of fermenting goodies.” haha! Yes, it truly is a science experiment in there, but not always the good bacteria you hope for, as I encountered today in cleaning it out for more ferments. Many of my ferments were leaking and making a big mess. Ferments need to come with a warning label, and I always forget that.

Last night I opened my jar of Sweet Fire and as Mt. Vesuvius began erupting out of the jar as I desperately tried to hold the lid on, Sweet Fire was catapulted all over my counter. Oops, I neglected once again to mention that you need to leave headspace in your fermenting jars, and then periodically check them to open the lid and let off pressure from time to time. I must say that the Sweet Fire is very good, one which I will make again. Usually we break into them before the erupting stage, and when the level is lowered a bit you won’t have that problem. It also depends on how active the ferment is.

Francie’s Fermented Fish will not be a wildly active ferment that you leave on the counter for 8 or more days, and will be eaten within a fairly short period of time, so I don’t think she needs to worry about exploding salmon all over her kitchen.

I also had to laugh about the “teacher” part, as mostly I know just enough to be dangerous. But it is so fun to have adventurous friends you can go on excursions with, for raw unfiltered honey, fruit by the case from the growers, homemade farm cheeses, wine… and experiment crazy recipes together.

I had always been curious about the fermented fish recipe by Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions, and have seen others from time to time, but Francie’s outshines them all.

Thank you so much, dear Francie.

Francie’s Fabulous Fermented Fish
guest post by Francie Ivy

Jamie inspired: Fermented salmon…

I have a friend called Jamie whose fridge is always brimming with deliciously interesting mixtures of fermenting goodies…she has been a fun teacher and I am dedicating my first attempt at fermented fish to Jamie..

Fermented foods, let alone fermented fish are not typical foods most of us have been exposed to and often present a challenge to even be tried. I was fortunate to have parents who loved food and cooking and always exposed us to “new and different” cuisine. I remember that my Dad loved sauerkraut..as a child, I thought it was perfectly ghastly..but now that I can make my own..wow..that is totally different! We grew up with pretty traditional ways of preparing foods, eating mostly home grown and home-fed…so including home fermented foods into our every day meals was not a huge step for us but it has definitely become my new thing!

And it is such fun! and so colorful and crunchy!..Lacto-fermented tomatoes on homemade crusty sourdough bread for lunch with a chunk of locally produced cheese…I mean what more could you want..apart from maybe a couple of bits of crushed garlic and a drizzle of olive oil…yummy! Lacto-fermented cabbage and carrots, kimchi style, fermented grated beets…they are so good! So,yesterday, when I was gifted some salmon, I decided I would go way out and lacto-ferment some of it. Why not? We all like sushi..we have always loved roll mops..So when I found a tasty sounding recipe that was it…I would ferment salmon!

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Lacto-fermentation is a process that preserves food beautifully but importantly provides significant nutrition by way of probiotics, enzymes and amplified nutrition of whatever is being fermented. That’s right, fermentation increases the nutrient value of a food so if it contains vitamin C the end product will contain more of it. It really is a potently healthful process.

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In typical Francie fashion..I read a recipe and then do my own thing with the ingredients I have on hand..so this is what I came up with… more or less..

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salmon sliced into strips
1 small apples sliced thinly
1 small lemon sliced thinly
half a red onion sliced thinly
a large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley from the garden
1 tbsp local raw honey
1 tbsp real salt
a few pepper corns
a sprinkle of home-dried tarragon
1/4 cup kefir whey
water to top up the jar

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I combined all the ingredients in a bowl and transferred to a mason jar, ensuring that the mixture was covered completely with liquid. I had to top each jar up with a little spring water . Tightly sealed the jars and set at room temperature for 24 hours. I will transfer the jars to the fridge in a couple of days and this should keep for a good few weeks. It should be best after a week or so, when the flavours have had time to develop. Not only do you get all the health benefits of eating fish with this handy snack but you also get all the probiotics that lacto-fermentation has to offer. I can’t wait to try out this tasty treat!

5 thoughts on “Francie’s Fabulous Fermented Fish

  1. Pingback: Grassfood Recipe Page | grassfood.

  2. Jamie you are so sweet..thank you for posting my fishy story.. it sure will be interesting to try it out in a week..I hope it will be edible…! and thanks for the reminder about going through the stored jars that are happily bubbling away in the fridge. I think that today is the day we will all be going through our jars and allowing and helping those bubbles to escape a little. XX

  3. This is so delicious sounding. Quite a co-incidence again. I was just thinking about some wild fish I was given, and wondering if I could ferment it, so I might just take your lead. Another thought occurred to me as I contemplated my fridge. I wondered how other people managed with several ferments stored in the fridge, and if they have the same need to go through all the contents once in a while. I am relieved to know I am not alone. I have just started a scrap vinegar with pear and quince, and a mead with some cantaloupe – and no room in the fridge.

    • Oh yes, Hilda, I always forget to post about the mishaps of fermenting. No you are not alone. 😉 Usually I ferment in a big glass container, and wait to seal in jars until the super fermentation has passed, but sometimes, like in the Sweet Fire, I just make it in the jar. Oooo, your mead sounds wonderful, and I’ve got vinegar going as well. No room in my fridge at all! Yikes!

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