As one of the faces of the modern Southern-American food movement, Sean Brock knows a thing or two about seafood and cooking with smoke. But in this video from Mind of a Chef, Brock travels to Senegal to learn a new technique: smoked, then fermented, whole fish. It's a method he never would have considered.
"So what's neat about it is they're doing the reverse of how we cure," Brock says in the video. "They're smoking it first, then they're salting it and as it sits here, it ferments. We do the opposite. We salt it, pull the moisture out, hang it, let it ferment, and then smoke it."
The reason for smoking before the salt cure: It preserves the fresh fish that would spoil under the hot sun. It's a process that Brock wouldn't think to execute without witnessing it first hand. "If I hadn't come here and seen this, I would have just taken the mentality of how we cure — salt, ferment, smoke — and then I would have failed."
• Fish Smoking in Senegal with Chef Sean Brock [YouTube]
• All Video Interludes [E]