May 25, 2009

Results - Rare poached ocean trout with esqueixada, ox heart tomatoes, kipfler potatoes and green herb mayonnaise

pearls rare trout
All I have to say is YUMMMM!!! This has to be the best dish I've attempted so far. However, I think I liked it so much because it was quite challenging. From the recipe, the ingredients read like a J.R.R Tolkien novel, long and confusing. Each step was time consuming, but yet so enjoyable. And I just absolutely loved bringing the whole thing together at the very end. It was like building a piece of art. With each step needing a steady hand and careful consideration....or am I over thinking this? But in the end it was just oh so nice to eat the thing and be left with the pile of dirty dishes. All I need is that dish fairy I've been asking Santa for some many Christmas's.

So lets start from the start. I cheated, yep....I cheated. The whole time I've been attempting this challenge I promised that I would strictly stick to the original recipe, in order to give it full respect. But on this occasion I wavered. Instead of using Ocean trout, I used Rainbow trout. Not a massive sin I know, but quite different in taste and texture. I had gotten some farmed rainbow trout from a workmate and thought this would be a perfect recipe to use the trout with. To tell the truth, this worked really well. The subtle taste was tantalising on the palate. Considering there were so many ingredients in the dish, if something was fuller flavour than another component it would have overshadowed the dish and ruined it.

pearls rare trout 3
I can see how someone could really dislike this dish though. It was extremely fishy, which I actually like. But if you have an aversion to seafood, or the smell of fish, this is probably not the dish for you. The main culprit of the fishy flavour is the salted cod. I used much less than the recipe called for, simply because I knew just how salty it could be. But I thought it worked well. There was no need for extra salt, the cod supplied more than enough.

salted cod 2
Salted cod, a little goes a VERY long way.

I love the translucent texture of the salted cod when you slice it very thinly. If you hold it up to the light you would be able to see straight through it. I don't know why you would do such a thing, but its always good to know, especially when you get into those unexpected dinner party conversations.

salted cod
Dinner party conversation:-
Me: "Did you know salted cod is almost see through when sliced thinly?"
Host: "Is that right? tell me more"

Another aspect of the dish that I really enjoyed was the herb mayonnaise. I adore basil, in fact I always joke that when I get married, I will have a bunch of basil as my bouquet when walking down the aisle, but somehow I think it would wilt before reaching the other end, but think how delicious I would smell! Anyway I lost the point. The herb mayonnaise was delicious.
herb oil
Food processors are cool, but I still want a kitchen aid

herb oil after straining
Herb oil, after straining.

It was so easy to make and the flavour held a massive punch. Drizzled across the plate like this is both pretty and practical. It helped to cut through the fishy flavour, and added a dimension of summer, even though we are dead smack in the middle of autumn. I will make this mayonnaise over and over again.

herb mayonaise

So here are the construction pictures, from the foundation, up.

Pearl trout step 1
Step 1: skin removal from fish

Pearl trout step 2
Step 2: tomato goes onto trout

Pearl trout step 3
Step 3: Potatoes go onto trout

Pearl trout finishing up
Step 4: Finish plating by adding rest of ingredients and expertly drizzling mayo onto plate
Step 5(Not shown): EAT!

The only criticism I had is that this dish was pretty expensive to create, at about $15 per serve, despite my frugal shopping skills. It might be due to some of the ingredients being out of season, which I know is a no no. But I think I made up for this by re-using and recycling. I HATE throwing perfectly good food away. I would rather put on a few kg's before throwing something edible away. So the left over herbs from the herb oil was transformed into a Pesto sauce for pasta...yum yum, and the left over mayo, which there was quite a bit of, turned into the most amazing potato salad. I mean it was FANTASTIC! Best potato salad ever. It was just potatoes, this mayo and same freshly chopped parsley, simple and delicious. I have a craving for it right now!

Pearl's rare trout
I'm loving this challenge, I seriously get to eat restaurant food at home at a fraction of the price, and I get to have so much fun doing it! Bring on the next one!


mellie said...

Oooh wow. I am super impressed! That looks absolutely delectable.

I'm tempted to give it a whirl myself!

Towser said...

Yeah wow. Your previous post with the daunting recipe left me curious to check back and your dish looks spectacular and sounds yummo...pretty impressive plating too! Don't worry about that $15 per serve, if you were to have such a dish at Pearl you won't get much change from $50 I'm sure! Well done.

Stephcookie said...

I have to agree with everyone else, WOW. That looks amazing. And so delicious. I am a big seafood fan so I get the feeling I'd love this. I'm so intrigued by the translucent salted cod. The potato salad you made with the leftovers must have been so satisfying, yummy and unwasteful!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

I love your analogy about the Tolkein novel. Long and confusing but somehow enjoyable is about right. This looks like a magnificent dish, and it's great that the herb oil and mayonnaise worked well in other settings.

You should definitely go for the basil bouquet too!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That looks AMAZING! That's the kind of dish you would cook up for a Masterchef audition and I bet they'd wave you through to the final! :)

Agnes said...

It looks beautiful. The translucent salted cod is cool! I'll definitely try and slip in that fact at my next dinner party. ;)

Maree said...

Looks absolutely fantastic, no wonder you're stoked! Congratulations!

Anita said...

Thanks for the photos, they're a great step-by-step and look fantastic! Great work with all of it.

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Mellie - You should really try it! all the effort is well worth the end results.

Hi Towser - Thanks very much. I always think that posting the recipe first gives everyone the chance to see the complexity/ease of each dish. I was pretty pleased with my results too.

Hi Stephcookie - Potato salad was so drool worthy! I will make it again soon and post something on it

Hi Arwen - I think I will do the basil thing. I was talking to a friend tonight and suggested that I should use the basil in the dinner at the reception after the church. How funny and cute would that be!

Hi Lorraine - I cant take all the credit for the plating, the description of the construction is pretty straight forward, but it did turn out quite good.

Hi Agnes - I'm having a dinner party on saturday, it will be my opening line for the night!

Hi Maree - Thanks! Did you find any salted cod at the Footscray markets?

Hi Anita - Thanks! I love the step by step photos on your blog too. I think they are so handy.

Yasmin (Almond & The Hazelnut) said...

What an epic adventure! But the results look well worth it (unlike a Tolkien novel - please fans, don't kill me!) I only discovered salted cod a couple of years back - or rediscovered really - when a child I thought it was horrid, the smell when fried in particular! But now, steamed or boiled with milk, I just love its rich flavour and light texture. Wish I could steal a bite of your creation!

Rilsta said...

Wow, that looks amazing! I love reading about and looking at all your wonderful creations because I would never make them myself. Great work!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Yasmin - I too thought salted cod was horrible as a kid. Probably because my mum would only cook it the one way...deep fried! But I've played around with it myself and I've discovered as whole new world

Hi Rilsta - Thankyou very much for all the support. But seriously anyone could make this stuff. Luckily I dont have to come up with the recipes myself. I'm lucky enough to be able to find these recipes and then try them out in the comfort of my own home. Where I can makeas many big boo boo's as I want.