Smoked salted fish

MOJAMA

La Mojama is the fillet of tuna with salt, after drying for several days, it remains one of the most typical and popular delicacies, along with other salted fish, from the province of Cadiz and other neighboring parts of Andalusia.
It is made using tuna or bonito (albacore), although in some cases also mackerel or other species. The steaks are prepared using a knife. From each tuna are extracted between one and two dozen strips of meat. They are then washed with water and left for one or two days by pressing them into coarse sea salt and removing the salt the next day. Then a couple of days are wrapped in wet sacks and after this time the fillets are washed again and allowed to dry in a well ventilated place between 10 and 15 days depending on the wind, whether east, south or west.
The Mojama has its own distinctive organoleptic properties (flavor, color, aroma and texture) of the fresh tuna from which they come. It has a strong aroma and flavor and a darker color, and its texture is much more consistent. As this is a salty product there is a predominance of salty notes. It should be remembered that during the production process some of its nutritional properties can be modified. It has a high salt content, and a much higher content in nutrients, proteins and fats than fresh tuna due to the loss of water that occurs during processing; That is, the nutrients are more concentrated.
The mojama is usually cut into very thin slices (two to three millimeters) and seasoned with olive oil. In some occasions they are accompanied in the plate of almonds or any other dry fruit. Sometimes they are flavored with rosemary. There is also the mojama pâté.

 According to the official standards adopted by ANFABASA, there are 3 types of categories for the mojama, according to the type of cut of the whole loin of the tuna, from which the basic raw material is extracted for the elaboration of mojama:

– The tenderloin mojama: is extracted from the upper and lower outside of the loin, closer to the skin and, contrary to what the name may indicate, is the lower quality part of the tuna loin. If the tenderloin has been extracted from a well-treated and processed raw material, its quality will be optimal, since the most important is the quality of the tenderloin, but its texture will not be as soft as the other qualities of mojama (first or extra).

-The first mojama: is extracted, as in the case of the extra mojama, from the central part of the tuna loin, and its main difference with this is found in the texture at the time of tasting, which is of less softness , Although its flavor itself is very similar. To identify the first mojama, we must look at the veins of the cut of the taco or slice, which in the case of the first mojama are lines parallel to each other.

-The extra mojama: Of the 3 grades of the mojama is the highest quality. It is also extracted from the central part of the spine, but this part has a much more compact muscular structure, which translates into a smoother texture with a less marked grain. We can identify if a mojama is of extra quality by looking at the cut of the taco or slice; This time the extra mojama has a much less marked veining than the first mojama and forms circles concentric with each other, instead of parallel lines as in the case of the first mojama.

MULLET ROE

From the Mujol (Mugil cephalus), a typical species along the southeastern coasts of Spain, known as mullet (distinguished by its cylindrical, elongated fusiform body, completely covered by large scales and up to 60 cm in length, although Sometimes specimens of up to 1 m in length and 2 kg of weight are found) their eggs are extracted, which after salting, pressing and drying give the final product commercialized. It is considered as the Mediterranean caviar. The traditional method for drying the roe begins by salting the roe for three hours. This is done as soon as they are removed from the belly of the fish, after being placed in a salt base and then covering them with more salt. They are then washed and pressed into the joints to remove any remaining blood in the roe which also ensures that the pieces are similar in shape. Finally they dry, alternating sun and shade, in order to improve the drying process. The color of the prepared roe varies between gold and grayish black, depending on the number of hours of sunlight during the drying process. Roes are usually presented in a flattened form, forming a type of elongated cake, although this product is sometimes also found as loose caviar in glass jars. It has a strong taste and odor and as a salty product, with a predominantly salty notes flavor. Its delicate sea flavor and the price make this an economical alternative to caviar. This is a versatile product that can be a suitable ingredient in pasta, rice and egg dishes, among others. In addition to the roe of this species also the salted ones of the bluefin tuna, resulting an exquisite delicacy with a characteristic flavor.

OTHER SMOKED SALTED FISH

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Montse Gonzalez