Saturday, June 24, 2006

Weekend Cookbook Challenge #6

This month, Sara and Alicat decided on Picnic food as the theme for Weekend Cookbook Challenge. Perfect timing, as one of the latest books to enter the collection is entitled "Picnic: Outdoor feasts in the Australian Landscape" by Sophie Zalokar.

The dish I'm "cooking" today is something a bit different - it's going to be a dish to revisit when the weather warms up. Picnics should be stress-free events and the beauty of this dish is that you make it the day before and it basically finishes "cooking" in the fridge. How easy is that?


Escabèche of Ocean Trout

¼ cup currants
¼ cup verjuice
40g unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 bay leaf
1/2 small bulb fennel, finely sliced
1 oranges, cut into skinless segments
1 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs
1 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 x 200g pieces of ocean trout
plain flour for dusting
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

For this recipe I'm using ocean trout tails


it's just my preference - being tail sections they are boneless, though if you prefer, use the middle cut fillets but make sure that all the bones have been removed, there can be a fine set of bones left in these sections.

Soak the currants in the verjuice overnight - or just heat the verjuice and currants under a low heat until the currants have absorbed most of the liquid. Cool before using.

Melt half the butter in a pan and gently sauté the onion with the bay leaf until the onion softens. Add the fennel and cook until it just starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the currant & verjuice mixture, then remove from the heat and place in a bowl.

To prepare the orange, first cut a slice from the top and bottom. Place the orange on the bench and with a sharp knife cut along and down the curve of the orange, removing the rind, pith and outer membrane - keep turning the orange until it's done. You may need to flip it over and remove any stray bits of rind that has remained.
To skinless segment the orange, place it in your hand and cut along the segment membrane until you reach the core - the repeat the process on the other side of the segment. The first one is the most difficult, once it's done you'll just have to release one side to get the segment out. The membranes will look like pages in a book. Place the segments into a bowl and then squeeze out any juice that remains in the membranes collecting it in your bowl.

Add the orange segments and juice to the onion/fennel mixture before adding the dill and pine nuts.

Heat the remaining butter with the olive oil in a non-stick frypan. Dust the trout very lightly with flour and place them, skin side down first. Turn over when lightly browned and remove when both sides have been coloured. If you're a bit concerned that the fish isn't cooked enough, rest assured, the orange juice will continue the process in the fridge even though it will retain that pinkness.

Place the fish in a non-reactive dish and cover with the fennel orange mixture. Strip the sprigs of fresh thyme and sprinkle over, followed with a grinding of salt and pepper, to taste.


Seal and place this in the fridge to marinate at least one hour but preferably overnight.


To serve: crusty bread and a simple green salad (made with parsley leaves and rocket and dressed with a simple olive oil vinaigrette)...and a glass of bubbly, of course!


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  1. Great post. The photos are lovely.

  2. Thanks so much Kalyn!

  3. wow that is stunning! Thank you so much for once again participating in the challenge! :O)

    This is simply beautiful! :)

  4. Thanks Ali! It's always an excellent event to participate in.

  5. yum! that looks very good and sounds not too difficult either.

  6. Thanks Sara - this is one of the easiest dishes but looks like you've toiled away for hours. It has wonderful complex flavours.

  7. Beautiful photos, wonderful post. I'll definitely have to try it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi Ruth and thanks for the lovely comments. Do let me know if you make this, hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


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