Honey Smoked Trevally

11:30 am on 23 July 2012

(Serves six as an entrée)

Step One: Honey Smoked Trevally

Ingredients

  • 2 trevally fillets (bone in skin on)
  • 50gm flaked salt
  • 40gm caster sugar
  • 20gm dark honey (such as Beechwood Honeydew)

Method

Place Trevally skin side down on a plate or tray and evenly cover with flaked salt and caster sugar.

Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 24 hours.

Remove the fish and pat dry, discard any liquid. Place on some absorbent paper and put back in the fridge uncovered for another 24 hours to firm.

Place the fillets on the smoking rack and brush the honey evenly over the fillets and gently smoke for 25-35 minutes.

Note: This can be made in advance and will last for 5-7 sealed in the fridge.

Step Two: Pancetta

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons whole juniper berries
  • 1/3 cup flaked salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pink salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 fresh bay leaves torn into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1kg piece of fresh, skin-off, bone out pork belly

Method

Mix the cure very well to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Place the pork belly on non reactive baking sheet or oven dish and rub the cure all over its surfaces, making sure to coat both the fat and lean sides, and all the edges and corners.

Carefully place the belly in a large sealable bag. Once it’s inside, rub the belly to redistribute the ingredients that may have fallen off while you moved it. Fold over the excess plastic and press down to remove as much air as possible.

Refrigerate the belly for 7 days, flipping it over every day. After 7 days, remove the belly from the refrigerator and press down on it to check the firmness. It should feel uniformly firm throughout. If the belly is still soft like raw meat, return it to the refrigerator for up to 3 more days.

Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and rinse off the curing mixture under cool running water. (It’s OK if there are still a few bits of pepper or spices on the belly).

Move the pork to a clean cutting board and pat it very dry with paper towels. Place it meat side up.

Wrap the pancetta in clean muslin cloth and store in the fridge or a cool, dark place that does not exceed 15 Degrees Celsius.

Let the pancetta hang for 2 weeks. It will emit a subtle smell, sort of savory and sweet like the cure. If it smells rancid or rotten, take it down and bin it. When the pancetta is completely firm but pliable like leather, it’s ready.

Cut down the pancetta and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Store it in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Note: Pancetta is not meant to be eaten uncooked. Be sure to cook it, just as you would bacon, before eating

Step Three: Fennel ala Grecque

Ingredients

  • 2 fennel bulbs (sliced)
  • 250ml white wine
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 2 tspn coriander seeds
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 Tblspn Dijon mustard
  • 2 tspn flaked salt
  • 1 Tblspn sugar
  • fresh milled pepper
  • reserved fennel tops

Method

Trim the tops of the fennel and reserve any green leaf tips. Wash and thinly slice fennel and place into a non reactive bowl (preferably glass).

Bring the remaining ingredients to a simmer and pour the hot liquid over the fennel slices, leave to cool.

Once cool, correct the seasoning and add the reserved fennel leaves.

Note: This can be made in advance and will last for 5 days

Step Four: Crayfish Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • ½ cup crayfish cooked and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp chopped chives
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and ground white pepper to taste

Method

Combine all ingredients season with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

Step Five: Cooking, Assembling & Serving

  • smoked trevally, portioned (from step1)
  • a little softened butter
  • 6 pre-cooked baby potatoes (sliced)
  • 200gm pancetta, diced (from step 2)
  • A splash of olive oil
  • Fennel ala Grecque (from step 3)
  • Crayfish mayonnaise (from step 4)
  • A drizzle of citrus oil

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Remove prepared fennel from the fridge and bring to room temperature (approx two hours)

Tray portioned Trevally and brush with softened butter.

Warm a sauté pan to a medium heat, add the splash of oil, sliced potatoes and pancetta.

Cook the potatoes for about a minute a side and turn the pancetta constantly for even colour.

Place the tray of smoked Trevally in the oven for 4-5 minutes to gently warm through.

To Serve:

Place the sauté potatoes and crisp pancetta in the centre of the plate.

Arrange fish on the potatoes, with the fennel ala Grecque off to one side of the fish.

To finish, place a good dollop of the crayfish mayo on the fish, with a good drizzle of citrus oil and a crack of fresh milled pepper.

Serve and enjoy.

Drinks match

Pencarrow Chardonnay 2011 – Martinborough. Light peach with wood notes. A fresh acid punch that cleans the palate and makes you ready for the next bote of food. About $20.

Pol Roger 2000 – Champagne. A decadent and special occasion wine. A depth and “meatiness” on the nose that is quite impressive. A robust (but not hard) wine. A hint of caramels and orange. A very good freshness. About $120 (but a relative bargain, when you consider other top vintage champagnes are now much higher, and basic non vintage stuff is between $60-70)

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