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How Chef Jacob Harth Dry-Ages Fish in Beeswax

The ancient technique preserves seafood, and adds a unique aroma and texture

“The idea that fish straight out of the water, or the fresher the fish the better, is completely false,” says chef and Eater Young Gun Jacob Harth (‘19), owner of seafood restaurant Erizo in Portland, Oregon. That’s why he dry-ages his fish in beeswax.

Curing and aging fish plays a vital role at the restaurant. Many of the local fish Chef Harth catches and serves are seasonal, and the preservation of seafood is vital to maintaining product throughout the year, and to minimizing waste.

Dry-aging with beeswax is an ancient technique. The wax layer keeps out light and moisture, which allows more of the natural oils in the fish to express themselves, giving a firmer texture and more of a bite to the fish rather than having a watery quality. It also adds a nice flavor and aroma to the fish.

Chef Harth shows us how a dry-aged trout is served lightly cooked over a dried mushroom shoyu sauce and with a side of shredded mushrooms, and a mackerel is served butterflied and grilled whole with a side of salsa macha.

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