Hiramasa – the king of fish

I recently bought some Hiramasa Kingfish fillets, not really knowing what I was going to do with them, but having some vague idea of using up rocket, mint and green mango from the fridge.  When I searched for recipes most of them were for either cured or sashimi-style fish and the ones that were for seared or roasted fish were too heavy and stodgy.  I remembered a recipe I had come across by Martin Boetz from Longrain that was for seared Kingfish with watermelon and roast shallot dressing.  I had made this previously but found the dressing too fiddly and the Kingfish too cooked (I prefer mine barely cooked – just warmed).  So I decided to just wing it and see what would happen.   The result was better than I had hoped; in fact, it was delicious and I will definitely make it again.  

Hiramasa Kingfish is a high-quality sashimi grade Yellowtail Kingfish, farmed under strict standards.  Hiramasa is the Japanese name for this fish –  it is highly regarded in Japan, where the fish is hand packed to avoid bruising.  Hiramasa Kingfish is the Australian name for this fish, and it is also a high quality sashimi grade fish. It has pale pink flesh with firm, large flakes and a sweet, rich flavor.  Hiramasa has a higher fat content, firmer texture and cleaner flavor than wild Yellowtail Kingfish (Amberjack).  Because of its firm fatty texture it is a perfect fish to use for sashimi and other raw fish dishes. More info: http://www.chefs-resources.com/seafood/finfish/hiramasa-kingfish/#ixzz4ZMrsUtau

Kingfish with mint, basil and watermelon

Serves 2
2 tbsp olive oil
2 kingfish fillets – skin on (about 2000g each)
120g watermelon cut into thin triangles
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 red radishes, thinly sliced (on a mandolin)
6 green beans, sliced in half lengthways and blanched.
1 tbsp fried shallots
Dressing
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp salt flakes
2 small red chillis, finely chopped
 

Heat oil in a hot pan and sear fish on one side.  Remove from pan and rest.  The fish will probably come away from the skin.  Keep frying the skin until it is nice and crispy.  Remove and reserve for garnish.

Cut fish into slices.  Return pan to heat and deglaze with a splash of soy sauce and squeeze of lime juice.  Add sliced fish and turn to coat.  Remove from pan.

For dressing: mix all ingredients in a jar.

To serve:
Arrange mint leaves, basil, radish, onion, watermelon and green beans on plates.  Thinly slice the Kingfish then place on top of other ingredients.  Pour over dressing.  Scatter fried onion and shred or crumble the crispy fish skin over top.

 

Now I need to think of something else to do with my green mango, rocket and other bits and pieces.  It’s time for a fridge clean-out.

Apologies for lack of photo – I only realised how good the dish was towards the end – too late to take a photo.  

 

In praise of shiso – and eggplant.

My good friend sent me some home-grown shiso leaves along with a recipe for eggplant which I cooked the other day.  Shiso leaves aren’t available here where I live but I must search out a plant I can grow as it’s a wonderful herb. I’ve only ever used the tiny ones that are sold more as garnishes with raw fish dishes (perfect with sashimi) but I love their flavour and was interested in the eggplant recipe that made use of them.  

Shiso is a member of the mint family and has large teardrop-shaped leaves with serrated edges.  It comes in both a green and reddish purple form.  It’s also known as Japanese basil, perilla and beefsteak.

The original recipe doesn’t call for mushrooms but I couldn’t resist the large portobellos I spotted at the market and they go really well with the eggplant.   I served this with some basmati rice topped with wasabi furikake (seasoning).

Eggplant, goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame

Serves 4
3 eggplant (about 425gm each)
3 large portobello mushrooms
sea salt flakes
vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
1 tbsp each roasted black and white sesame seeds
3 radishes, thinly sliced into rounds on a mandolin
30gm goat’s curd
2 nori sheets, coarsely torn 
 
Soy marinade
125 ml (½ cup) light soy sauce
125 ml (½ cup) rice vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
To serve:
shiso leaves and katsuobushi*

 

Cut eggplant lengthways into 2.5cm-thick wedges, sprinkle with salt and stand in a colander for 10-15 minutes. Thickly slice mushrooms.

Meanwhile, for soy marinade, stir ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until sugar dissolves (2-3 minutes). Set aside.

Rinse salt from eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add some vegetable oil and shallow-fry eggplant in batches until golden-brown on both sides and tender (6-8 minutes), adding oil as necessary. Transfer eggplant to a bowl.  Add some more oil to the frying pan and saute mushrooms until golden but still firm.  Add to the eggplants and pour soy marinade over to marinate at room temperature (1 hour).

To serve, drain eggplant and mushrooms from the marinade and arrange on a serving platter, dot the goat’s curd around, scatter with sesame seeds, radish, nori sheets and shiso leaves and serve topped with the katsuobushi.

*Katsuobushi are bonito flakes, available at Japanese grocers.  

I couldn’t get any goat’s curd so I used some soft goat’s cheese instead.  Ditto with the Katsuobushi – I had some bonito seasoning that I use to make dashi stock and sprinkled that over the dish.  It may have not looked as pretty as in the recipe but it tasted sensational.  I also didn’t read the recipe properly and instead of tearing the nori I shredded them.  Oh well, next time I’ll know and plan in advance.

Nevertheless, I do encourage you to try this dish – it’s very easy to make and you won’t be able to stop eating it.

Good news:  I’ve just found an online seed place that sells shiso and have put in my order!

Barley salad – the new tabbouleh

My variation on tabbouleh

Pearl barley (sometimes called pearled barley) is the most common form of barley for human consumption because it cooks faster and is less chewy than other, less-processed forms of the grain such as “hulled barley” (or “barley groats”, also known as “pot barley” and “Scotch barley”). All barley must have its fibrous outer hull removed before it can be eaten; pearl barley is then polished to remove the bran layer.

Because of its high caloric, protein, vitamin and mineral content this variation of tabbouleh is much more wholesome than the usual version made with bulgar. 

Serves 4

1 cup pearl barley
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon, juiced
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin mixed with 1 tbsp salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coriander leaves, torn
2 cups flat-parsley leaves, torn
2 cups rocket, chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 celery heart, finely chopped, yellow leaves reserved
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped (optional)

Adding the seeds of a pomegranate makes a nice variation

  1. Place barley and cinnamon stick in a medium-sized saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until barley is cooked and tender. Drain then stir through lemon juice, half the olive oil and combined cumin and salt. Season with pepper.
  2. Combine barley mixture with herbs, rocket, onion, celery heart and leaves and almonds and season to taste.

Salads & grains

I’ve been experimenting with using different kinds of grains in my salads. Recently I came across one that used millet. I couldn’t find millet and thought that amaranth would produce a similar result. I was wrong. It’s more of a porridge grain and turned into a sticky mush. However, it did have an interesting nutty flavour. Like quinoa, amaranth is an ancient seed that was a staple of the Aztecs and Mayans, it’s full of calcium and anti-oxidants and packed with protein.

I intend to experiment with it and find best uses – didn’t do the job for my salad and I ended up quickly cooking some couscous to mix in with it (which worked really well). The beauty of this salad is that it’s quick to make and the only thing you need to cook is the chicken and the millet.

Poached chicken salad with millet
Serves 4
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 cup dried millet
1 cup chicken stock
100gm frozen peas (place in a sieve and rinse them with cold water to bring them to room temperature)
100gm silverbeet, thinly sliced
1 buch broccolini, finely chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed mint, finely sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

Dressing
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Place chicken in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water, a spoonful of salt, handful of black peppercorns and some spring onions (optional) bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let it stand to finish cooking.
  2. Dry roast millet in a saucepan over medium-high until nice and golden (2-3 minutes). Add stock, season to taste and baring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook without uncovering for 15 minutes. Spread millet on a tray and refrigerate to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, drain chicken and tear it into pieces. Combine in a bowl with peak silver beet, broccolini and mint, then add millet and toss to combine.
  4. Shake the dressing ingredients in a jar to combine and drizzle over the salad. Toss to coat and serve with scattered pistachio nuts.

For more grain-based salads click here: barley tabbouleh