Grilled bonito with baby gem dressing and purslane


  • Serves 4 people

  • 25 gm fine sea salt
  • 4 bonito fillets, bones removed (about 200gm each)
  • 100 gm piece of pork fat, trimmed (see note)
  • For brushing: olive oil
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) purslane sprigs (see note)
  • To serve: lemon wedges and extra-virgin olive oil
  • Baby gem dressing
  • 2 baby gem lettuces, leaves separated
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp chardonnay vinegar
01   Combine salt and 500ml water in a non-reactive container, stir to dissolve salt, add bonito and refrigerate to brine (1 hour). Discard brine, pat bonito dry with absorbent paper and refrigerate until required.
02   Preheat oven to 150C. Meanwhile, freeze pork fat until firm (45 minutes), thinly slice lengthways on a mandolin, place on oven trays lined with baking paper, top with another sheet of baking paper, then weight with another oven tray. Roast until fat turns translucent (7-10 minutes), remove top tray and baking paper and cool.
03   For baby gem dressing, blanch lettuce in a saucepan of boiling salted water until bright green (30 seconds), refresh and drain well. Pulse with remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth (be careful not to over-process or the dressing may overheat), adding more oil if necessary to thin to a dressing consistency. Season to taste and set aside.
04   Heat a char-grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush bonito with olive oil, add to pan skin-side down and cook, turning once, until golden and just cooked through (2-3 minutes each side). Season to taste.
05   Combine purslane and pork fat in a small bowl, then divide among plates. Divide grilled bonito and baby gem dressing among plates, drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.
Note You may need to order pork fat in advance from your butcher. Purslane is available from select greengrocers; if it's unavailable, substitute baby sorrel or watercress.

This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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