"Rattling Pots and Pans 3 - Poached Ocean Trout" Brisbane Travelogue by pedroswift
Brisbane Travel Guide: 1,596 reviews and 3,435 photos
Although Australians tend to celebrate Christmas Day with a traditional English baked dinner (turkey/ham) followed by hot plum pudding, there is a trend towards a more sensible meal to suit the hot summer conditions. Sea food meets the bill so sales of oysters, prawns and crabs are at record highs at Christmas.
My contribution to the family seafood buffet affair each year is a whole Tasmanian ocean trout or salmon served cold on a glass platter.
One fish to suit the cooking pot which in my case has been purchased just to do this task. A 2.5 - 3.0 kg fish fits into the 60cm (24 inch) kettle. A fish this size serves a dozen people.
I have had to cut the tail right off a longer fish to fit most of the fish in the pot. Tail section was pinned back on at presentation stage.
glass of New Zealand Sauvinion Blanc
fish stock(home made) or water,wine, bouque-garni combination
I cook the fish on Christmas Eve. Basically the whole fish is put in cold fish stock to cover then bought to a simmer slowly for a few minutes (5); the heat is turned off and contents allowed to cool to room temperature in the kettle before removal to the serving platter. Fish is refrigerated over night and next morning decorated for presentation. If I'm travelling, I leave the decoration until I'm at the venue.
Start by sipping the savblanc to get into the cooking mood.
Stuff the cavity of the fish with sliced lemon. Some roughly chopped fennel also an option. Place the fish on the removable plattern that fits inside the fish kettle. Add fish stock and a half bottle of white wine to cover the fish. The fish is going to be skinned for presentation so there is no need to scale it first. Place a few more bits of lemon atop the fish, cover and slowly heat to a simmer as above.
When it eventually comes back to room temp use the lifting plat to gently remove the fish from the stock and place on plate covered with a couple of layers of cling wrap. Cover with the wrap and refrigerate.
Next day slice the continental cucumber thinly. Try to find a cucumber with a tapering shape so that slices vary in size.
To extract moisture from the cucumber slices sprinkle table salt over two layers of kitchen paper then place the slices onto paper. Sprinkle more salt onto the slices and cover with two layers of kitchen paper. Leave for an hour or two with a cutting board on top.
Skin the fish. Cover the skinned area with tartare dressing (purchased or self made stuff).
Starting at the tail end of the fish, using the smallest diameter cucumber slices first, cover the fish with overlapping slices to give a scale-like appearance to the fish. The cling wrap can be reused & the fish put into the fridge until ready to use.
When ready to put to table, cut away the cling wrap. Decorate the edges of the fish with sprigs of parsley and lemons quartered.
Your extensive knowledge of fish anatomy will assist in serving it. Starting at the tail end, run a knife along/above the backbone just as you would if filleting a raw fish. Cut across the fish at intervals to provide serving size portions. We use a cake trowel to lift the serving portions to plate.
When the top half of the fish has been removed from the back bone, don't try to turn it over. Pull the skeleton away from the flesh and trim off any fin bone bits to expose the bottom half.
Have extra tartare sauce and lemons on the side.
I have thought about using aspic and a variety of other vegetables to enhance the appearance. However, the extra complexity has put me off doing so. The combination of salmon, cucumber and tartare and lemon is a harmonious one which has been well received by all family members. Believing in the KISS principal (keep it simple, stupid) I'm loathe to change a formula that works.
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