This is a kind of frozen Siberian sashimi: thin slices of frozen fish served simply. It is also nice to accompany it with olive or rapeseed (canola) oil flavored with herbs such as thyme and/or oregano, although that would be kind of un-Siberian.
Traditionally, stroganina is made with muksun, a fish not often found outside the Siberian Arctic waters. In Moscow and other "southern" cities, salmon is often substituted, and it works well. Halibut and sea bass are other good alternatives.
The pleasure of a stroganina, like the pleasure of a granita or even a custard, lies in its texture. As it melts in your mouth, an ephemeral flavor is released.
For this recipe, sushi-quality fish is required. It is preferable to buy it frozen. The main challenge is to cut long, thin slices; rather than try to emulate the impressive slicing techniques of the Nenets of western Siberia, you'd do well to use a meat-slicing or bread-slicing machine. A large chef's knife will do, but the cutting does require a little practice.
In Siberia it is common to serve a large, 3-pound fillet, even if there are just 3 or 4 guests. When serving this at home, Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad uses 1/4 pound or so per person. In Siberia, stroganina usually is served as a separate dish, accompanied by vodka.
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds frozen salmon fillet, pin bones removed and preferably skinless (may substitute halibut or sea bass)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Red wine vinegar (optional)
- Herb-flavored oil (optional)
Twenty to 30 minutes before serving, transfer the fillet from the freezer to the refrigerator. Place a heavy ceramic serving plate in the freezer.
When ready to serve, adjust the thickness on a meat-slicing machine to about 1/4 inch, or have ready a sharp and heavy chef's knife. Cut the flesh of the fish into several long slices, preferably against the grain, placing the slices on the chilled plate.
When the salmon becomes too thin to cut further, reserve any remaining bits for another use (such as soup); discard the skin, if necessary. Arrange the frozen slices on the chilled plate and serve immediately, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Serve with the vinegar or herb-flavored oil for dipping, if desired.
From Gastronomer Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Judy Sarasohn.
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