Gin-cured ocean trout with herb crust

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 people

Lightly curing the fish before roasting adds another dimension of flavour. You can extend the curing time by up to a week and serve it in the same manner as gravlax. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

  • 200 gm caster sugar
  • 140 gm sea salt
  • 120 ml gin
  • 40 gm finely grated fresh horseradish (or shop-bought)
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) dill, finely chopped
  • 2 sides skinless ocean trout (about 1.2kg each), pin-bones removed
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp each finely chopped mint, flat-leaf parsley and chervil
  • Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
  • To serve: lemon wedges
  •  
  • Cucumber pickle
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 160 ml white wine vinegar
  • 80 ml dry white wine
  • 60 gm caster sugar
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced
01   Combine sugar, salt, gin, horseradish and dill in a bowl (reserve 2 tbsp dill to serve) with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Spread half the curing mixture in base of a non-reactive dish and place trout on top. Spread over remaining mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to cure.
02   Meanwhile, for cucumber pickle, dry-roast fennel seeds until fragrant (1 minute), then coarsely crush in a mortar and pestle and return to pan. Add vinegar, wine, sugar and 100ml water, season to taste and bring to the boil, then cool to room temperature. Combine cucumber and shallot in a non-reactive container, pour over pickling liquid and refrigerate until chilled.
03   Preheat oven to 200C. Remove trout from curing mixture, brush off any excess and pat dry with absorbent paper. Place in a roasting pan lined with baking paper and drizzle with oil. Roast until just golden and cooked to your liking (4-6 minutes for medium-rare).
04   Meanwhile, combine mint, parsley, chervil, lemon rind and reserved dill in a bowl and season to taste. Scatter over trout and serve warm with cucumber pickle and lemon wedges.
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