Cured ocean trout
Prep 10 mins
3 days curing
Curing a side of ocean trout for a houseful of summer guests might sound complicated, however you won’t believe how simple it really is. All the preparation is done two or three days in advance, it’s easy to serve, and any leftovers will keep very well. One reason why this technique works so beautifully with ocean trout is that the fish has a high fat content, which means it retains its lovely soft texture when cured. The basic cure consists simply of salt and sugar, and you can build on this with whatever flavour combinations you like – we’ve provided four suggestions to get you started, including a spice mix.
200g fine pink Himalayan salt (see note)
130g caster sugar
1 side of ocean trout (1.5kg), cleaned and pin-boned (see note)
1 tbsp roasted fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1 tbsp white peppercorns
2 tsp allspice berries
2 tsp coriander seeds
1. For spice mix, dry roast the spices in a small frying pan until fragrant (10 seconds), then transfer to a mortar and pestle and coarsely grind.
2. Combine salt and sugar in a bowl, add spices and mix to combine. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap or baking paper on a tray, scatter over half the salt mixture, then place trout on top and then scatter over remaining salt mixture. Cover tightly with plastic and then refrigerate, weighted with a weight to help cure the fish, turning fish once each day, until cured to your liking (2 days for a lightly cured, 3 days for medium cured).
3. To serve, scrape off all the cure mixture and wipe fish with a clean damp chux to remove excess - you don’t want to wet the fish with water, but getting off all the mix is important. The fish is best eaten over a week, but can last 2-3 weeks if stored well. You can slice it ahead and lay it between sheets of baking paper or plastic wrap and return the rest back to the fridge, tightly covered until next time.
For a seaweed cure, replace spices with 10g dried wakame, one handful of shiso laves and 60ml sake.
For a classic gravadlax, replace spices with 1 bunch coarsely chopped dill and a handful of coarsely crushed white peppercorns and increase the sugar to 250g.
For something to add a crimson-hue, smash half a grated beetroot in a mortar and pestle and mix in with the base sugar and spice cure, and add 60ml gin.
To serve, thinly slice the trout on an angle and place onto serving plates. Top with a scoop of crème fraiche, then grate fresh horseradish all over. Finish with a mellow-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil and soft herbs and flowers, such as coriander, to garnish and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing, and super fresh rye sourdough and butter.
N O T E
We love to use Himalayan pick salt when curing and preserving as it has a lovely soft taste. If using regular salt, you may need to decrease the amount of salt used. For the best flavour, it’s important that your trout is very fresh. Cure it within one day of buying it from the fishmonger.
Recipe and image by Eatable.