Sterlet smoked meats are deservedly considered a delicacy, therefore they are not cheap. But you can save a little by preparing hot smoked (or cold) sterlet yourself. A significant plus of homemade smoked meats is complete confidence in the naturalness and high quality of the product. But you need to strictly follow the technology and algorithm of actions in terms of preparation, marinating sterlet and directly the smoking algorithm.
The benefits and calorie content of the product
The most valuable and beneficial for health is the red sea fish. But sturgeons, including sterlet, are not much inferior to them. Useful substances are retained in it even after smoking. Fish is rich in:
- proteins (in the form that is absorbed by the body almost completely and provides it with the necessary energy);
- polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega-3, 6, 9;
- animal fats;
- minerals (especially calcium and phosphorus);
- vitamins A, D, E, group B.
The composition has a positive effect on health:
- stimulation of mental activity, less fatigue with intense stress on the brain, prevention of its age-related degenerative changes;
- beneficial effects on the central nervous system, combating apathy, depression, chronic stress;
- prevention of vision problems;
- strengthening the walls of blood vessels, lowering blood cholesterol levels;
- prevention of strokes, heart attacks, other pathologies of the cardiovascular system;
- protection of bone and cartilage tissue, joints from "wear and tear".
The undoubted plus of sterlet is its low calorie content. Hot smoked fish contains only 90 kcal, cold smoked - 125 kcal per 100 g. There are no carbohydrates at all, fats - 2.5 g per 100 g, and proteins - 17.5 g per 100 g.
Ukha and sterlet smoked meat in Russia were considered "royal" dishes
Principles and methods of smoking sterlet
At home, you can cook both hot-smoked and cold-smoked sterlet. In both cases, the fish turns out to be very tasty, but in the first it is tender, crumbly, and in the second it is more "dry", firm, texture and taste closer to natural. In addition, there are the following differences between smoking methods:
- Equipment. Hot-smoked sterlet can be cooked in the oven; cold-smoked sterlet requires a special smoker, which allows you to provide the required distance from the fire source to the grate or hooks with fish (1.5-2 m).
- The need to follow the technology. Hot smoking allows for certain "improvisations", for example, the use of "liquid smoke". Cold requires strict adherence to the algorithm of actions. Otherwise, pathogenic microflora, dangerous to health, may begin to develop in the fish.
- Fish processing temperature. With hot smoking, it reaches 110-120 ° C, with cold smoking it cannot rise above 30-35 ° C.
- Smoking time. It takes much more time to process fish with cold smoke, and the process must be continuous.
Accordingly, cold smoked sterlet requires a lot of time and effort. Here the fish is marinated and cooked longer. But its shelf life increases and more nutrients are retained.
When choosing a smoking method, you need to take into account not only the taste of the finished product
Selection and preparation of fish
Its taste after smoking directly depends on the quality of raw sterlet. Therefore, naturally, the fish should be fresh and of high quality. This is evidenced by:
- Like wet scales. If it is sticky, slimy, flaky, it is better to refuse the purchase.
- No cuts or other damage. Such fish is most likely affected by pathogenic microflora.
- The elasticity of the texture. If you press on the scales, the dent that appears in a few seconds disappears without a trace.
Fresh sterlet should be chosen as meticulously as possible
The selected sterlet carcass must be cut up by dipping it into hot (70-80 ° C) water in order to wash off the mucus from it:
- Scrape off bone growths with a stiff wire brush.
- Cut out the gills.
- Remove head and tail.
- Cut off the viziga - a longitudinal "vein" running outside along the ridge. When smoked, it gives the fish an unpleasant aftertaste.
The cut fish are thoroughly washed in running water and dried on paper towels and a clean cloth. Optionally, after that, the sterlet is cut into portions.
How to salt sterlet for smoking
Salting sterlet before smoking is the most important stage in its preparation. Salt allows you to get rid of pathogenic microflora and excess moisture. There are two methods of salting - dry and wet.
For one cut fish (3.5-4 kg) in both cases, you will need:
- coarse table salt - 1 kg;
- ground black pepper - 15-20 g.
Dry salting looks like this:
- Thoroughly rub the dry fish inside and out with a mixture of salt and pepper, after making shallow notches on the back.
- A layer of salt and pepper is poured onto the bottom of a container of a suitable size, fish is laid out on top, then salt and pepper are added again.
- Close the container, put oppression on the lid, keep in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
Dry salting of fish is considered the most suitable for hot smoking.
Wet runs according to the following algorithm:
- Pour salt and pepper into a saucepan, add water (about 3 liters).
- Warm up until the salt is completely dissolved, let cool to about body temperature.
- Put the sterlet in a container, pour the brine so that it completely covers the fish. Leave in the refrigerator for 3-4 days (sometimes it is recommended to increase the salting period up to a week), turning daily to ensure even salting.
Overexposing any fish in brine is not recommended - you can "kill" the natural taste
Important! Regardless of the method chosen, after salting the sterlet should be thoroughly washed in cool running water and allowed to dry at a temperature of 5-6 ° C anywhere with good ventilation for 2-3 hours.
Marinade recipes for smoking sterlet
The natural taste is very much appreciated by gourmets and professional chefs, so many believe that the marinade will only spoil it. But it is quite possible to experiment with different compositions.
Marinade with honey and spices gives the fish an original sweet taste and a very beautiful golden hue. For 1 kg of fish you will need:
- olive oil - 200 ml;
- liquid honey - 150 ml;
- juice of 3-4 lemons (about 100 ml);
- garlic - 2-3 cloves;
- salt - 1 tsp;
- ground black pepper - to taste (1-2 pinches);
- spices for fish - 1 sachet (10 g).
To prepare the marinade, all the ingredients must be mixed, the garlic must be pre-chopped. Sterlet is kept in it for 6-8 hours, then they start smoking.
In wine marinade, sterlet turns out to be very tender and juicy. For 1 kg of fish take:
- drinking water - 1 l;
- dry white wine - 100 ml;
- soy sauce - 50 ml;
- juice of 2-3 lemons (approximately 80 ml);
- cane sugar - 2 tbsp l .;
- salt - 2 tbsp. l .;
- garlic - 2-3 cloves;
- a mixture of peppers - 1 tsp.
Sugar and salt are heated in water until completely dissolved, then cooled to body temperature and other ingredients are added. Sterlet is marinated before smoking for 10 days.
The citrus marinade is especially suitable for hot smoking. Required Ingredients:
- drinking water - 1 l;
- orange - 1 pc.;
- lemon, lime or grapefruit - 1 pc .;
- salt - 1 tbsp. l .;
- sugar - 1 tsp;
- medium onion - 1 pc.;
- a mixture of peppers - 1.5-2 tsp;
- dry herbs (sage, rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme) and cinnamon - pinch each.
Salt, sugar and chopped onions are thrown into water, brought to a boil, and removed from heat after 2-3 minutes. Chunks of onions are caught, chopped citruses and other ingredients are added. Sterlet is poured with marinade, cooled to 50-60 ° C, smoke is started after 7-8 hours.
The coriander marinade is very easy to prepare, but not everyone likes its specific taste. You will need:
- drinking water - 1.5 l;
- sugar and salt - 2 tbsp each l .;
- bay leaf - 4-5 pcs.;
- cloves and black peppercorns - to taste (10-20 pcs.);
- seeds or dried coriander greens - 15 g.
All ingredients are added to boiling water, stirred vigorously. The sterlet is poured with liquid cooled down to room temperature. They start smoking in 10-12 hours.
Hot smoked sterlet recipes
You can smoke hot smoked sterlet not only in a special smokehouse, but also at home, using an oven, a cauldron.
How to smoke hot smoked sterlet in a smokehouse
The algorithm of actions is as follows:
- Light the wood for the fire, let the flame burn so that it is stable, but not too intense. Pour small chips into a special container in the smokehouse. Fruit trees (cherry, apple, pear), oak, alder are best suited. Any conifers are excluded - a bitter "resinous" taste is guaranteed to spoil the finished product. The suitability of birch is a controversial issue; not everyone likes the tar notes that appear in taste. Wait for light white smoke to appear.
- Arrange the fish on wire racks or hang on hooks, if possible, so that the carcasses and pieces do not come into contact with each other.
- Smoke sterlet until golden brown, opening the lid every 30-40 minutes to release the smoke. It is impossible to overexpose it in the smokehouse until it is chocolate-colored - the fish will taste bitter.
Important! Ready-made hot-smoked sterlet should not be eaten immediately. It is ventilated for at least half an hour (even an hour and a half is better).
Hot smoked sterlet in the oven
At home, in the oven, hot smoked sterlet is prepared using "liquid smoke". As a result, the fish has a characteristic taste, although, of course, for gourmets, the difference between a natural product and a "surrogate" is obvious.
Hot smoked sterlet is prepared as follows:
- After dry salting for 10 hours, add a mixture of 70 ml of dry white or red wine and a teaspoon of "liquid smoke" to a container with fish. Refrigerate for another 6 hours.
- Rinse sterlet, lay on a wire rack. Smoke by selecting the convection mode and setting the temperature to 80 ° C for at least an hour.
Important! Readiness is determined "by eye", focusing on the characteristic color and aroma.
The specific cooking time depends on the size of the sterlet pieces and the oven itself
How to smoke sterlet in a cauldron
A very original, yet simple technology. Sterlet must be marinated before smoking according to any recipe:
- Wrap sawdust or wood chips for smoking in foil so that it looks like an envelope, pierce it with a knife several times.
- Put the "envelope" on the bottom of the cauldron, set the grill with fish pieces on top.
- Close the container with a lid, put it on the stove, setting the average flame power level. When light smoke appears, reduce it to a minimum. Hot smoked sterlet is ready in about 25-30 minutes.
Important! This fish is ideally combined with boiled young potatoes, fresh herbs and grilled vegetables.
Recipe for smoking sterlet with a smoke generator
If you have such a device at home, you can cook hot smoked sterlet like this:
- Place pieces of cut fish in water, adding salt to taste. Bring to a boil, remove from heat. Dry the fish by wiping it with napkins and spreading it out on wooden boards.
- Pour very fine chips or shavings onto the mesh of the smoke generator, set it on fire.
- Put a grate with pieces of sterlet on top, cover with a glass lid. Adjust the direction of the smoke so that it goes under this “hood”. Cook the sterlet for 7-10 minutes.
Important! Fish smoked in this way is recommended by professional chefs to be served on toast with butter, sprinkled with finely chopped chives on top.
Not every housewife has a smoke generator in the kitchen.
Cold smoked sterlet recipes
For cold smoking, a special smokehouse is required, which is a fish tank equipped with a smoke generator and a pipe connecting it to the "heating element". If it's not a fire, keeping the temperature constant is much easier.
How to smoke sterlet in a smokehouse
The direct process of cold smoking sterlet at home is not much different from the technology of hot smoking. Sterlet should be salted, washed, hung on hooks or laid out on a wire rack. Next, they make a fire, pour the chips into the generator, connect it to the chamber in which the fish is located.
The readiness of cold smoked sterlet is determined by the consistency of the meat - it should be tender, elastic, not watery
Cold smoked sterlet with apple flavor
You can prepare such a cold smoked sterlet using the technology described above. The marinade with apple juice gives the fish an original flavor. For 1 kg of sterlet you will need:
- drinking water - 0.5 l;
- freshly squeezed apple juice - 0.5 l;
- sugar - 2 tbsp. l .;
- salt - 1.5 tbsp. l .;
- half a lemon;
- black peppercorns and cloves - 10-15 pcs each;
- bay leaf - 3-4 pcs.;
- onion peel - half a cup.
First, you need to boil the juice and water, then add onion peel to the pan, after another 5-7 minutes - lemon juice and other ingredients. Boil for about half an hour, until a brick shade.
In such a marinade, pieces of sterlet are kept for at least a day. It must first be drained and cooled to room temperature.
Apple marinade gives smoked sterlet not only an unusual taste, but also a beautiful color
How much sterlet needs to be smoked
The term varies depending on the size of the fish carcass or its pieces. Hot smoked fish is cooked in a smokehouse for at least an hour. Cold - 2-3 days without a break. If the sterlet is especially large, smoking can take 5-7 days. When the process is interrupted for some reason, even if only for a few hours, it is necessary to extend it for another day.
Homemade smoked sterlet is a perishable product. Hot smoked fish will stay in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, cold smoked - up to 10 days. Freezing it in airtight plastic bags or containers can extend the shelf life to 3 months. But you need to freeze in small portions, since re-freezing is strictly prohibited.
Cold and hot smoked sterlet can be stored at room temperature for a maximum of a day. To do this, the fish is covered with nettle or burdock leaves and wrapped tightly in paper, leaving it in a cool, well-ventilated area.
Hot smoked sterlet is an amazingly appetizing and aromatic fish. Its taste does not suffer even with the cold method. Plus, when consumed in moderation, it has tremendous health benefits. The technology of smoking sterlet in both cases is relatively simple; you can also prepare a delicacy at home. But in order for the finished dish to meet expectations, you need to choose the right fish, prepare the right marinade and follow the instructions exactly during the cooking process.