Gin-cured sea trout with apple and fennel

Gin-cured sea trout with apple and fennel

By
From
Everyday Seafood
Serves
6 as a starter, or up to 10 as a bite

Wild sea trout is, for me, a delicacy. I actually prefer it to salmon and find it responds particularly well to curing. Using strong alcohol in the cure helps to achieve a pronounced flavour and the combination of gin, apple and fennel works well here. This is a good dish for a party because it can be prepared in advance and whipped out of the fridge when you’re ready to serve.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 very fresh side of wild sea trout, skinned and pin-boned

For the cure

Quantity Ingredient
250g sea salt
250g caster sugar
2 tablespoons juniper berries, crushed
150ml gin

For the apple and fennel salad

Quantity Ingredient
200ml olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
4 juniper berries, finely chopped
100ml cider vinegar
30ml gin
2 fennel bulbs, tough outer layer removed
3 eating apples, such as braeburn
3 teaspoons finely sliced tarragon

Method

  1. For the cure, put the salt, sugar and crushed juniper berries into a food processor and blitz for 3 minutes.
  2. Lay the sea trout on a tray and sprinkle evenly with the cure mixture. Turn the fish over in the cure a few times to ensure it is coated all over. Drizzle the gin evenly over the fish, then wrap the whole tray in cling film and place in the fridge to cure for 4 hours.
  3. When the time is up, unwrap the fish and wash off the cure with cold water, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Wrap the fish tightly in fresh cling film and place back in the fridge for an hour to firm up. (At this stage you can freeze the fish for up to a month.)
  4. To make the dressing, put the olive oil, shallots and chopped juniper berries into a small pan over a medium heat until the oil just begins to bubble. Take the pan off the heat and add the cider vinegar and gin.
  5. Slice the fennel as thinly as possible, using a mandoline if you have one, and place it in a bowl. Peel, core and grate the apples, then add to the fennel with the tarragon. Toss to combine and dress the salad with half of the dressing, keeping the rest to finish the dish.
  6. Using a sharp knife and a clean board, slice the trout as thinly as possible and lay it equally on 4 large plates. Scatter some of the salad over the fish and drizzle with the remaining dressing; bring to room temperature before serving. Serve the rest of the salad in a bowl on the side.
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