Curing fish offers an alternative way to cooking than using heat. Originally used as a way to preserve before the days of refrigeration, the flavour and texture of the finished product are so good that the practice widely continues.
This dish is currently on the menu as the first course at the river room, it’s a cold dish with the tasting menu beginning with a delicate taste of the sea from the halibut and oyster and a slight earthiness from a lovage oil. Crispy potato slices and some slices of lightly pickled cucumber and radish are added for balance, along with a few herbs and salad leaves.
This dish can easily be increased in size and extra salad added to make a light, reasonably healthy lunch dish.
400-500g halibut fillet (ideally one thick piece)
120g fine salt
30g egg yolk
140g vegetable oil
x1 large potato (Maris Piper)
Salad and cress for garnish
Firstly, take the fish and ensure there is no skin or any of the grey coloured bloodline on the fillet. Once clean, place the fillet of halibut on a tray and cover with a mixture of the salt, sugar and juice and zest from the lemon. Allow the fish to cure for around 8-10 hours in the salt mix, by the end it should be slightly firm and feel a little drier than the fresh fish at the beginning. Once cured, gently rinse the fish under cold running water for around 15-20 minutes, wrap in a clean cloth and once dry, begin to slice the cured fillet into thin pieces.
Heat 60g of the vegetable oil up to around 90oc. Pour this over the lovage in a blender and blend for around 4-5 minutes until a green oil is achieved. Allow this to cool by pouring through a sieve into a bowl which is resting in ice water.
Open the oysters and add the contents and all the juice into a blender, add the juice of the remaining lemon and the egg yolk, blend this for a minute or two until smooth then slowly drizzle the remainder of the oil into the machine while it is blending. A thick mayonnaise style dressing should be achieved. A little more oil can be added in the same way if it needs to be thicker. Pass this through a fine sieve, check seasoning and set aside.
Thinly slice the potatoes, about 2mm thick, and cut into the desired shape. I cut mine into circles, then place on a piece of greaseproof paper, dress with a little oil and season. Cook the potatoes at around 140oc until they are golden and crisp. Cut the radish and cucumber to similar shapes as the potato then lightly dress with sugar salt and a little squeeze of lemon.
Firstly lay a few slices of the cured fish onto a small plate or shallow bowl, dress with the oyster emulsion then carefully layer on the slices of potato, radish and cucumber. Add the leaves and cress and then a generous spoonful of the lovage oil to the side.
This is the most typical grape variety from Austria. The south-west facing position and the proximity of the forest brings the grapes cool ripeness with fine fruit and beautiful acidity. In Austria 'Klassik' designates a wine made with stainless steel and no oak, to preserve the freshness of the fruit, and this is a benchmark Weinrieder wine.
The wine is bright yellow with a youthful green glow. Aromas have a distinctive core of ripe apple, quince, and hints of peach. The rich texture is well balanced by the juicy yet lively acidity. This wine is very elegant with a long and round finish whit a hint of white pepper; a delicious and classic example of a Grüner Veltliner from the Weinviertel.
Perfect wine for this halibut dish as the light acidity will cut through the curing of the fish and the fresh, crisp citrus flavour will enhance the sea flavour from the oyster emulsion.
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