Smoked dab in Danish smoked bakskuld

Shopping List for 8 adults

How to smoke a dab
16 pcs. fresh dab
5 kg coarse salt
(depending on your salt jar)
16 liters or 4 kg smoke dust
(depending on your smoke oven)
100 g of sugar

A live dab
High season for dab from October to January
How to serve a dab
2 pcs. dab per person
2 slices of good rye bread
tooth thick butter to rye bread little unsalted butter for frying
little tartar sauce (I don't use it)
2 pcs. lemon wedges
2 pcs. Cold beer
4 glass of aquavit (a must for some)
I am an angler in Scandinavia
Recipe No. 74
How to smoke and serve a dab
How to smoke and serve a dab

Procedure without liability: A "Bakskuld" (Danish for smoked dab) is a salted, dried and smoked dab. Dab from the West Coast and is a known eating since the 1700 century. I even know dab from my childhood by the North Sea, and every time I go to Henne Strand, I'm going to the port of Esbjerg to buy a box of dab. In the old days it was a poor man's food, but trust me on Zealand is it the sea of gold.

Bakskuld = dab belongs to the flounder family and was also called dabs or shoulder. Dab was then caught on hooks attached to lines that were more than 100 meters long, hence the name longline. It was fisherwomen at Esbjerg Harbour, in the 1700 century put the bait on longlines, and got them in trays (bakker) with 400 hooks. From there the name bakskuld (trayshoulder).

Let it be said at once, today's cooking of dabs is done in 3 days, because time is money. First day the fish are cleaned and salted, second day the fisk are oven dried and third day are the fish smoked. A live dab of 300 g becomes a smoked dab of 150 grams and costs about DKK 30.00 or DKK 200.00 per kg. In Hvide Sande, where they are called dabs, to DKK 11.00 for 100 g or DKK 110.00 per kg. My description below is the old recipe. It also means that weight loss is greater, but the shelf life is longer.

How to smoke a dab:
Clean the fish by cutting the head off and remove all the guts, rinse fish blood from the abdominal cavity with water. In a suitable salt jar sprinkle the bottom with salt and fish laid over without the overlap. Sprinkle again with salt over the fish. Add another layer of fish and sprinkle again with salt. This is repeated as long as there are fish, and ending with a layer of salt. You need a lot of coarse salt then buy it in the Metro in 25 kg bags.

The fish are put under pressure with a suitable, clean material and put cold for 7 days. My salt jar suit the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Then take the fish up and rinse thoroughly with clean, cold water. Now comes an important point, the fish MUST dry thoroughly before they are smoked. Tie them together in pairs in the tails with string. Plug a hole through the fish and pull the string through, tie each fish at each end of the string. The fisk should not slap together by drying and later by smoking. The time for drying may vary according to the season and how they dried. At the west coast, I have seen the fish hanging on the clothesline with laundry. They can also be dried in an open carport, but of course they can not hang out in the rain. I use my smoke oven who has a fan at the bottom. When the fish looks and acts like a rigid board, it is time to smoke. It might take a week to dry the fish.

The fish are cold smoked (max 27 C) in two rounds. Start early morning with a labyrinth tray filled with smoke dust and let it burn through. In my smoke oven it takes about 12 hours with 8 l smoke dust. Repeat it again the next day and let the fish hang overnight. After the smoking process the fish must be dried again a few days before they are packed for freezing. Yes! You read that right, I freeze them in pairs so they can keep at least 9 months in the freezer and can be taken up in portion size.

If you can not or feel like all this work, you grab for your wallet and buy the ready-prepared dabs. Do not miss to taste these "Sea Gold (fish)".

How to serve a dab:
My favorite dish: With a sharp pair of scissors cut fins and tail. The skin skinned gently on both sides by sticking a knife into the skin on the side where the intestines was. Tear up and help with a thumb under the skin, so it goes like a breeze. See this video how to do. Melt a good dollop of unsalted butter in the pan and fry gently fish herein. It is in no way "overcooking", the fish should just be lukewarm and drag butter into the meat.

The dab is split into four fillets by cutting along the center line down to the backbones and out towards the sides. 4 fillets suit 1 piece of rye bread with tooth butter, 1 beer and 2 dram. Here I can mention in Hvide Sande they drank good coffee punch to the dab. It was probably because it was a "alcohol-free city" - at that time - then the alcohol was not seen.

Grill: Fins and tail cut off as above, and then place it on the grill. But the skin will remain on. It can easily become too dry if it gets too much heat, so check often for the fish. Salt taste is also more penetrating, as the meat does not get butter. The skin ripping off before eaten as above.

Microwave oven: See above under "My favorite dish", but instead of a frying pan placed the fish on a plate suitable for microwave oven with a good dollop of unsalted butter on top. How long it should have, I can not say, but try your way, first by 3 minutes and then with 1-minute intervals.

Garnish: My opinion is that smoked dabs are served without too much garnish, but some prefer a little tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Drinks: You must have a good beer and two punch / dram to each smoked dab.

Hint: In the recipe above says 100 g sugar. I use a tablespoon to each layer fish.

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