The process of dry-aging meat has become increasingly popular over the last few decades. It is a technique used to mature the flavor of the meat and create a butter-like texture by storing unwrapped cuts of beef in a dry-aging chamber where temperature, humidity, air circulation, and bacteria levels are strictly regulated.
Thanks to this technique, meat becomes easier to cut through and digest compared to when it is “traditionally” cooked.
As with meat, the fish also has to mature skillfully, ensuring that the connective tissue that holds the muscle fibers together does not dissolve – as it is the case with meat – and that the fish loses as much unnecessary fluid as possible for better taste.
While relatively new in Europe, dry-aging fish is rooted in Japanese traditions where it began as a means of necessity. Today, dry-aged fish is considered a delicacy.
“The Fresher, The Better.. until you try dry-aged”Raphael Warda, Chef and Co-owner Madura Restaurant
This process happens over a period of time in a controlled environment where the right temperature and humidity levels are maintained so as to transform fish texture and elevate its flavor, which will ultimately pair extremely well with seasonal vegetables and herbs.
While it is hard to imagine anything better than freshly-caught fish, chefs around the world have learned that dry-aging fish not only creates a more tender and flavorful outcome but comes with other benefits too.
Unlike fresh fish that can spoil in no time, dry-aging preserves its freshness at its peak by getting rid of excess blood, slime, and moisture.
Dry-aging allows the amino acids in the flesh to break down, making the proteins, fats and glycogen more palatable sweet.
As the moisture is pulled out, fish tends to not curl up, shrivel, or shrink and remains tender and juicy even if slightly overcooked creating a ‘melt-in-the-mouth´experience. You may be intimidated by the idea of eating fish that is not ‘fresh’, but when you learn about dry-aging you will understand it is just a superior piece of fish, tasting meatier and intenser, a real delight for you taste buds.