Prepared by: Lenka Hauke, Petr Hauke & Josef Hauke
Main ingredient: Carp bream (Abramis brama)
Carp bream (Abramis brama):
Very widespread fish of the carp family, for which the minimum fishing length is not set by the fishing regulations. The bream has a high, flattened body. Most common catches are in the range of 20-30 cm. Bream is an indigenous species that occurs in ponds, reservoirs and dams, and in the lower part of larger rivers, called “the bream zone”. This fish is popular among anglers for tasty meat and is mostly used for preparation of rollmops, salads and meatballs. If you do not mind quite a large number of small bones, this fish is suitable for grill or smoking.
Since we have been devoting our holidays to fishing for several years now, we re-visited this year Brtná in the Highlands and the popular valley reservoir Trnávka. From previous years we know the bream is abundant here, but we haven’t had as many catches as this year. After giving away or eating about ten pieces of these fish (and we only kept fishes larger than 38 cm), we still brought a nice 12 pieces from our week holiday.
…And here is our recipe for homemade rollmops:
Small fish (bream in our case), salt, vinegar, spice – black pepper, allspice, bay leaf, mustard seed, carrot, onion, sauerkraut
First of all we need to catch some fish. This is our boys’ job (for now at least, since it looks like I’m going to join them next year J). We could write a lot about our fishing methods and preparation of bait, but let’s set it aside for another blog, maybe.
First, clean fishes you caught – gut, scale off and cut the head off.
We cut the cleaned fish along the spine, so we basically get fish fillets. At this stage, we do not need to pull out the bones yet.
Put halves of fish into salt. Use a little bit more salt than for normal cooking, especially if we can’t store fish in a cold place. Store in a closed container. Turnover and re-salt (if necessary) every day just to make sure the fish do not spoil. Fish lets out quite a lot of water, so pour it out. Leave fish in the salt for four to five days.
Then remove and wash thoroughly in cold water. Salt makes the meat stiff and dissolves the remaining slime and other impurities. At this stage we can remove the larger ventral bones – it’s quite easy.
Put the halves of fish into a large enough container and pour over a pickle made of vinegar and water (ration 1:0.5). Close the container and store in cold. Let the pickle work for 3-4 days (7 days if you have larger fish as we do). The vinegar softens smaller bones, but does not decompose the meat because we had it in salt before.
The day before we continue to the last stage of preparation, we cook the final pickle. The final pickle is again a combination of vinegar and water, but in a different ratio – 1:4. Add spices (black pepper, allspice, bay leaf, mustard seed) and salt (100g per 1 liter of vinegar). We can also mellow with few tablespoons of sugar, if desired. Cook all ingredients together and let cool down until the next day.
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Take fish out of the container and wash in cold water again (you can also let it soak in milk for half an hour). Take out the spine and remove fins (if we did not do it before). Cut fillets in stripes of suitable width (approx. 5 cm) – depending on how large rollmops you desire.
Put sauerkraut and pieces of onion on fish stripes, and roll it up. Secure with a toothpick. Lay the rollmops in clean glass and add few slices of carrot and onion (we can also add slices of pickle if desired).
Pour with cold pickle and tie the lid firmly. Let it rest in a fridge (or a room with the temperature up to 6°C) for about 4 days.
Enjoy is all that remains to be said!