Fish Garum Recipe and a Note on Waste

Reduce food waste by creating your own fish sauce and get this seafood chef’s philosophy on food waste and sustainability.

| October 2019

butchering-fish 

Given the amount of trimmings or discarded bones are variable to each fish, we have written this recipe to represent percentages needed to produce any amount that you have. Up to 60 per cent has always been considered the loss of a round fish. Once the fillets are removed, even from 1 or 2 kg (2 lb 3 oz or 4 lb 6 oz) of the fish, there is still so much left.

We tried a number of different ways, some that failed and some that showed potential, but eventually one of our chefs, Tristan, discovered this recipe, which produces a stable fish sauce that can be made from just about any fish waste.

To produce the garum, start by adding 50 per cent of water to the total amount of heads, bones and scraps you have from small fish, such as sardine, mackerel, anchovies or trevally, then to this total quantity add 20 per cent of fine salt. Mix together, transfer to a mason (kilner) jar, seal and place in a circulator bath set to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Leave for 7 days, stirring once daily. It is possible to produce a garum without a circulator bath but I would suggest investing in one if you intend to try to produce this sauce as fish waste can be temperamental. If you don’t have one, then use a sterilised mason jar and store in a dark place at room temperature, stirring every day. Make sure that the gall bladder is removed as it will make the finished sauce extremely bitter. This recipe is versatile and can be adapted to produce scallop, prawn (shrimp) or cuttlefish garums.



bones

A note on my philosophy (and waste)

I don’t understand how the 40-45 per cent (or, more to the point, the 55-60 per cent waste) that chefs are taught to expect a round fish to yield can be acceptable globally.






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