The method of wet salt-curing is to de-head and split the fish open so it can be laid flat. Often they are filleted but the skin is left on. It is laid in coarse salt for one week as with the dry salt-cured ling, only this time they are only in the kiln for a few days. They require refrigerated storage and only keep around three months. They are normally sold vacuum packed as they cannot be left out like the dried version. This is a distinctive Scottish cure and very different from the Nordic stockfish.
The cure remained popular in the Scottish diet well into the first half of the 20th century but has seen a decline since. In the areas where it was traditionally produced, and became a staple part of the diet, it has survived: the curing method handed down from one generation to the next. It is a slightly acquired taste to those not used to it and a delicacy for those who are.
It is less easy to find in retail outlets in areas that do not have strong taste- memories of the dishes made with salt ling. Producers are mostly confined to the islands in the North where there are landings of ling. Available from Blyd’O’It Fishshop
photo: Wendy Barrie