Palamida

Fish Preserved in Salt

To make palamida, see first of all if you can buy a fresh palamida or bonito.  If not, buy a good piece of fresh tuna, devoid of any dark sections in the flesh.  Remove the skin, rinse the fish well under cold running water to remove any blood, and pat it dry.  Lay the fish in a glass or ceramic baking dish in a thick bed of sea salt. Cover it completely with more sea salt. Let the fish rest for three to four days, pouring off the liquid each day and adding back more salt to keep the fish well covered. Unless you’re curing a very thick piece of fish or planning on keeping it for months on end, I find weighting it unnecessary. (A large piece of tuna can be cut into smaller pieces.)

At the end of the salt curing, the fish will have become very firm.  Now sufficiently preserved so as not to rot, it will continue to dry and firm up even more, and tradition calls for allowing it to air dry for a couple of weeks longer before eating. Chances are you don’t want to fill your home with the odor of drying fish, so just wipe away all the surface salt, wrap the fish and store it in a cold, dry place.  If you’ve made a lot, wrap small portions and freeze them.

To eat: slice very thin and reconstitute for an hour or two in olive oil. This is an instance in which the quality of your olive oil seriously matters. Flavor counts.

Slice very thin, serve accompanied by orange or lemon wedges and sliced bread.

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