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Prolonging the storage of fresh fish

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

 Recently I have learned of a method of storing portioned fish post butchery and my question is if one can take this to it's extremes. I will explain.

 

 If one butchers a salmon, an excellent way to store it is to coat the portions in olive oil (classical flavour combinations can be utilized here: parsley and lemon zest in the oil) then wrap individually in plastic wrap. The theory is that the cooled oil acts much as in the confit method (to store (and cook) in fat that congeals, effectively producing a physical barrier to bacteria and other particles). This won't permanently preserve the fish, but it has been shown to extend the 'shelf-life' by at least three days.

 

 The question of application would then be: let us say that I require a regular and large supply of haddock. In previous years this has been dealt with by ordering frozen haddock; the restaurant is located on an island known for fresh seafood. This won't work. Although it would be enacted in a more specific way... could one simply store the haddock (say 15 pounds at a time) in a cambros, covered in olive oil? Would this not buy me more time with the fish? 

 

 I understand the flavour of olive oil can be an unwanted factor; I ask more in a general light then that.

post #2 of 15

How often do you get deliveries?

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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

 Once a week is what the primary supplier would prefer. This is part of the problem. For an additional cost I can receive deliveries twice a week: Friday and Tuesday mornings.

post #4 of 15

Unless you are very careful and make sure that the entire piece of fish is coated you will have decay, smell, and slime within a few days.

 

The best way to keep fish for prolonged amounts of time is to place it in a slotted pan over another pan to catch the drips.

Place plastic wrap over the fish then ice.

Change daily.

 

Been there and done that.

post #5 of 15

I would portion and freeze the fish before I would do what you are describing.

 

And confit is cooked slowly and stored in it's fat.

 

Your customers deserve the highest quality product possible. This olive oil method sounds like a casualty waiting to happen.

post #6 of 15

clean portion very fast brine in salt soloution and vac seal? maybe 3-4 % soloution 5 min ? 

post #7 of 15

Fish kept on ice keep longer than fish not kept on ice and the olive oil method does not allow this. Also fish that stays in contact with body fluids spoil quicker and I would think the olive oil would be a medium for bacterial micro-organisms, but it is mere speculation.

 

Fresh that day fish, if properly handled can keep a week, however with a lot of fishing boats and purveyors by the time the fish gets to you it is already a few days old.

 

I would have lots of questions for your purveyor because of his policy about charging extra for twice a week deliveries. To me, it sounds like he gets his fish from another purveyor. How far down the chain is he? etc. etc. etc.

 

Do you get whole head on fish?

 

My storage method for fish has changed and evolved over time as my product and culinary knowledge have grown. Presently, I rinse my fish, dry well, wrap in tea towels, and top with ice that is in plastic bags


Edited by cheflayne - 2/14/14 at 6:47am
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #8 of 15

No, do not use the oil method.  I had a chef who kept it in a vat of oil and it smelled terrible after 3-4 days.  But we got fish three times a week so we never really had to find out the hard way.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan View Post
 

No, do not use the oil method.  I had a chef who kept it in a vat of oil and it smelled terrible after 3-4 days.  But we got fish three times a week so we never really had to find out the hard way.

 

You wanna hear something horrible? Worked for an incredibly cheap and stupid chef  and she would constantly reuse marinade for mahi-mahi from one batch to another instead of making a new marinade from every batch (oil+ lime slices+ lemongrass+ whole green Thai bird chilis+ little fish sauce) . So by the end of the season that one batch of marinade was contaminated from fish 3 months ago and being used on fish purchased today! I can't even imagine how much bacteria was breeding in that mess. Once the aromatics starting going brown she would slice up new aromatics and remove the old stuff but keep the oil! I would gag every time I opened the fish bucket and would secretly not marinade fish in fear of killing someone.

 

BTW this is the same "chef" who wouldn't throw out about $10 of canned truffle peelings once it had turned into alcohol and clearly had fuzz growing on it. She simply "washed" them off and mixed the peelings into butter. Every time an order from truffle risotto came back she would tell the servers we're using high quality truffle so the flavor and aroma is very intense. I told her I'm calling the health department after that one.

post #10 of 15

 Thank you for the response. From all of this it seems as if the risk isn't worth the potential increase in 'shelf-life'. It seems that the traditional method: cleaned and stored on ice gives us long enough without resorting to the olive oil method which seems, although not an inherent health risk, a waste of money.

 

 That's an unfortunate story to hear linecook854, but rest easy, I was not intending to use the same oil for months. Changing it each time also speaks to the financial reason this isn't worth it. Months though? Really? That simply defies any good instincts. 

post #11 of 15

.


Edited by DrLogik - 2/7/14 at 9:39am
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrLogik View Post
 

I am not a professional chef or cook

 

 

Quote: from entrance to forum entitled Professional Chefs
 This forum is reserved for current and past professional chefs only. Only professionals in the food industry may post here though all are free to read.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #13 of 15

my favorite right now is in a fast brine change the percent a bit so you dont need to salt the fish much for service, remove and vac it then store under ice.. 

post #14 of 15

Kuan was absolutely correct.......don't use the oil method........Unless you're intending on making gravlox! By the way, since storage in oil was mentioned.....I once was told some crazy teacher at one of the culinary schools, way back when, would tell his students you could store whole, raw, fresh chicken submersed in oil for 4 weeks? Theoretically it sound right but common sense always told me never to eat let alone sever fresh chicken more than 2-3 days old.

 

Many eons ago when I was working for a reputable Seafood restaurant in Atlanta, I was put in-charge of the fish. There we had a cooler that was almost specific to seafood storage and it was kept around 33 degrees. We did receive deliveries almost daily so there wasn't a huge issue with getting fresh product yet sometimes we would menu a species taht would sell like crazy, build up the par and then it would die off. Also, I always hated the plastic wrap method. Never had the same results as with the procedure I'm about to describe.

 

Upon receiving, all fish was inspected, placed in perforated lexans or hotel pans with corresponding drain pans, covered with parchment paper and iced heavily. We continued to ice 2 additional times per day or after each shift. At the end of the night when the shift was finished, I would often take the portioned fish, lay out on a perforated hotel pans and follow the same procedure of parchment and ice to store over-night. By the way, this was also the method I uused for storing whole poultry as well. Whole or cut-ups were iced and bnls breasts were kept in their storage bags and iced

 

Since then (1985), I have never used any other means or method that works as well in maintaining the freshest possible product. As a side note, proper ordering and possibly adding the extra delivery will be the surest way to maintain quality. Especially knowing that with all fresh food you have a shelf life and need to check quality because food does die. However, this extended the life of the product to more than just 2 days, especially the whole fish or unportioned fillets.

post #15 of 15

We fish.

A lot.

For a week sometimes.

In a tent when we were young and poor... a camper with generator later on...have a cottage (complete with rockers on the south porch) for our later years.

Back in the day there was no limit on daily bag but being good stewards we did not keep the huge granddads nor the nursery sized (pesky little buggers).

Most of the catch was placed in a cage of sorts (in the surf) to keep alive.

The bleeders were cleaned and either fileted for that nites supper or cleaned and kept surrounded by tons of crushed ice in a cooler placed in the shade.

The ice was drained of melted fishy water and ice brought up to par every AM.

No problem with them staying absolutely fresh for up to a week.

Sure some had to be culled for the crab traps but on average we brought home 80%.

So yes with extra care like oldschool pointed out it is possible to keep a (large portion) of your gilled friends fresh and ready for the grill.

 

mimi

 

Loved the tourists who would stop and talk.

Were usually able to barter most of the ice chest catch for more ice or better yet ground beef and fresh bread.

After eating bologna sandwiches and pan fried catch o' the day a plain hamburger was like ambrosia from heaven.

 

m.

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