When it comes to oil I prefer extra virgin olive oil. Whether it’s for cooking or dressing no other oil will do. I am biased towards Spanish olive oils as I find they have more character and adore their green tinge. At home, it’s always best to have two olive oils. The first one for frying, rubbing your meats and tossing vegetables before baking. Your second oil can be light to medium bodied, ideal for dressing salads.
I have been wanting to poach fish for some time now, and when poaching fish you need to get the technique right. On this occasion I dashed out to the Sydney Fish Markets to grab the perfect ocean trout pieces. I eagerly searched for my priced ingredient and found the perfect fillets at Peter’s Fish Market. Kindly ask them to skin your trout pieces. As I started heading back I saw an abundance of sea urchins at almost every store. The sight of this wonderful seafood brought back childhood memories from Chile where sea urchins are so loved. In Chile they call them ‘erizos’, say this word to a Chilean and they will passionately tell you the best way to prepare them. I couldn’t resist the temptation, so I grabbed a few and there I was set with a bag packed with treasures from the sea. I hope to share an erizo recipe with you soon, and it will be the best you will ever try, well I am Chilean so I would say that!
The recipe I was making for dinner with friends was ocean trout poached in extra virgin olive oil. I wanted a nice crispy salad with some acidity to go with the trout. During my saturday morning ritual of researching recipes, I stumble over an eye catching rhubarb, cucumber and rocket salad, inspired by an Iranian salad. Food is great and powerful, it has no boundaries, allows you to get richer culturally and brings the world to your table.
Recipe (serves 4)
- 4 160g ocean trout pieces, skinned
- 1 ltr olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- sprig of thyme
- salt and pepper
- 3 young rhubarb stalks
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 tbsp coarse salt
- bunch rocket leaves
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 handful of chopped mint
Pull your salad together by firstly stripping any tough outer membrane. Peel the cucumbers, slice the vegetables finely at an angle and toss into a bowl with salt. Let it stand for 15 minutes, this technique will take away the bitterness in your rhubarb and draws out the water from your vegetables. Rinse well and pat dry with kitchen paper. In a salad bowl place the rocket, cucumber and rhubarb. Dress with lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and garnish with chopped mint leaves.
Refrigerate the trout for about an hour. In a frypan wide enough to fit the fish pieces, add olive oil, garlic and thyme. Simmer gently until garlic is golden, turn off the heat and discard the garlic and thyme. Remove your trout from the fridge, pat dry, sprinkle salt and leave them out for about 10 minutes. Bring the pan of oil back over a low flame and grab your thermometer. Once the oil reaches 70C, gently add the fish pieces and make sure the pieces are completely covered with the oil. Turn off the heat and leave for 20 minutes. Following this process will leave your fish perfectly poached.