Mild Cured Pike Perch with Mara Seaweed
Try this Latvian delicacy, seasoned with three types of Mara's hand harvested seaweed flakes.
Time 2 days and 15 mins prep (including curing time)
This recipe was given to us Linda Mazure from Latvia, who tells us it also works well with trout; however, freshwater pike perch is a well-known local delicacy in Latvia. There are many different ways of preparing it, but the easiest and fastest method is mild-curing, a centuries-old food tradition ideally suited to Latvia’s climate.
Seasoning can vary from classic dill to seaweed, juniper and fresh berries such as lingonberries, elderberries or cloudberries. Instead of applying pressure by weighing fillets down, some modern cooks wrap them tightly in several layers of cling film.
While this technique is probably more convenient, it may not give the best results if the fish meat is to change its structure to firm and dense, as salt draws the moisture out. Dry cure dissolves in it creating a brine, where fully covered fish can be kept for months.
- Clean the fillets with kitchen paper, but do not wash them. Remove any bones.
- Mix the rock salt, sugar and dill. Lay the fillets skin down and rub them with the smoked salt flakes, then add an even layer of seaweed and work it into the topside of the fillets.
- Scatter over the dry cure mix so that the flesh is completely covered and press down vigorously. Flip over so the thick edge of one fillet fits on the top of the thin edge of the other.
- Put the fillets in a tray that's slightly wider than they are, then cover them with a wooden board and place a weight on the top. Put the tray into the fridge for 48 hours.
- Before serving, wipe off most of the cure (seaweed and dill), and pat the fillets dry with kitchen paper. Lay the fillets skinside down and cut off thin slices with a sharp knife.
- Serve it cold on buttered toast or with a veggie salad.
- Fillets fully covered by brine fillets can be kept in fridge for at least 2 weeks.