Cured Ocean Trout with Flavours of Cucumber + Apple
There are definitely a lot of elements and steps involved in creating this dish, however I can guarantee you it's worth it. Every mouthful captures all of my favourite textures and flavours. There's acidity, salty, sweet, smokey, crispy, creamy and lots of umami. I created the concept around my childhood memories of fish and chips on the water - the crispy batter, the soft flesh of the fish, I always had lots of tartare sauce and the addition of the smoke takes me back to the fires on the beach as the sun was going down. This is a special dish, for a special occasion.
- 800g ocean trout, pinboned bones reserved, skin removed and reserved, trimmings reserved
- 240g brown sugar
- 240g salt flakes, plus more for reasoning
- 30g dill, chopped
- 280ml grapeseed oil, plus extra for deep frying
- apple wood chips
- ocean trout bones and trimmings
- 250ml grapeseed oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp flake salt
- 75g tapioca pearls
- 30ml grapeseed oil, plus more for deep frying
- 25g dill
- 250ml apple cider vinegar
- 125ml apple liqueur
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 2 tsp dill seed
- 25g dill, chopped
- 18 (50g) Mexican cucumbers
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced lengthways on mandolin
- 1 small green apple, sliced on mandolin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- baby cucumber, thinly sliced on mandolin
- green apple, very finely diced
- dill sprigs
- fennel fronds
- trout roe
- salt, to taste
- Heat oven to 100C.
- To prepare ocean trout, combine brown sugar, salt and 30 grams dill in a bowl. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on bench. Spread half of curing mix onto wrap, lay trout fillet on top and cover with remaining curing mix. Press in firmly and wrap to seal well. Place in the fridge, to cure, for 2 ½ hours. Remove from fridge, dust off cure and cut into large cubes. Set aside.
- For the crispy skin, scrape excess fat or flesh from skin and reserve. Place onto a paper lined baking tray and cover with another sheet of baking paper. Place in oven to dehydrate for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Heat grapeseed oil to 180C. Deep fry skin in hot oil for 1-2 minutes until crisp. Drain on kitchen towel. Set aside.
- For the smoked bone mayonnaise, place ocean trout bones and trimmings into a bowl and cover with cling film. Insert nozzle of smoking gun filled with apple wood chips and smoke bones for 20 minutes. Cover with 250ml grapeseed oil, re-cover and smoke for a further 30 minutes. Strain oil into a jug.
- Place egg, mustard, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and salt flakes into a food processor. Process until combined then, with motor running, add smoked oil in a thin stream until thickened and emulsified. Season to taste and set aside in fridge.
- For the dill crisps, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add tapioca pearls and boil for 15-20 minutes or until almost translucent. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place 30ml grapeseed oil and dill in a small food processor and process to combine. Strain and stir dill through cooked tapioca. Spread tapioca onto a paper lined tray and bake for 1 ½ hours or until dehydrated. Remove from oven and break into shards.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan to 220C. Very carefully fry shards until puffy. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
- Meanwhile, for the pickles, place apple cider vinegar, apple liquer, sugar, garlic, celery seeds, dill seeds and chopped dill into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Place mexican cucumbers, sliced lebanese cucumbers and sliced green apples into 3 separate bowls and cover each with pickling liquid. Leave to cool to room temperature then strain. Set aside.
- For the garnish, combine olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a medium bowl. Add baby cucumbers and diced apple and toss to coat.
- To serve, arrange trout cubes on 6 serving plates. Add pickled vegetables and dressed cucumbers and apples. Dot with smoked mayonnaise then crispy skin, dill crisps and garnish with samphire, dill sprigs, fennel fronds and trout roe.