Muddle garlic, lemon zest, and sea salt.
Rinse your selected fish and cut them into ½-inch pieces including heads & tails.
Toss fish in garlic mixture.
Add bay leaves and peppercorns to a clean, dry mason jar.
Pack the fish into the jar, pressing down to release any juices from the fish.
Pour in brine to cover the fish leaving 1” headspace at the top of the jar.
Cover tightly and leave on your kitchen counter for 1-2 days, then refrigerate for up to 6 weeks.
Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and discard all solids.
Store for 5-6 months, refrigerated.