Pan-fried garfish with eggplant tonnato and caramelised lemon dressing

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 2 eggplants, sliced crossways into 2cm-thick slices
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 50 gm salted baby capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 12 (150gm each) garfish, cleaned
  • 40 gm unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  •  
  • Caramelised lemon dressing
  • 2 lemons
  • 295 gm (1 1/3 cups) caster sugar
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  •  
  • Eggplant tonnato
  • 95 gm canned tuna in oil, drained
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 150 ml vegetable oil
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • ½ lemon, juice only
01   For caramelised lemon dressing, place lemons in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil over medium heat, then drain and repeat. Combine lemons, sugar and 1 litre of water in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until lemons can be pierced with a knife. Cool in syrup, drain, then finely chop, discarding seeds. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add lemon and cook for 5 minutes or until caramelised. Add olive oil and season to taste. Makes about 1½ cups.
02   Scatter eggplant with 2 tsp sea salt and stand for 2 hours to remove bitter juices, then rinse and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook half of the eggplant for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through. Scatter with half the capers, garlic and parsley and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cook for another 2 minutes or until garlic is soft. Drain on absorbent paper and set side. Repeat with ¼ cup olive oil and remaining eggplant, capers, garlic and parsley and season to taste, then set aside.
03   For tonnato, process tuna, egg yolk, anchovy fillets, mustard and vinegar in a food processor until combined, then add combined oils in a thin, steady stream until emulsified, add lemon juice and season to taste. Makes 1¼ cups.
04   Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook 3 garfish at a time, for 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Add a piece of butter to pan and cook fish for another 30 seconds or until butter foams and fish is golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Repeat with remaining olive oil, fish and butter.
05   To serve, arrange eggplant on plates, spread with tonnato, top with garfish and drizzle with dressing and lemon juice.
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