October 5, 2009

Results - Slow-cooked ocean trout with Israeli couscous, zucchini, and sadly WITHOUT any chilli or bottarga

ocean trout and pearl couscous 1

*Drool* *slobber* *groan* *hmmmm ummm hmmm*

So good, oh so so good. I've wanted to cook with the sous vide method for a while now. A couple of things have been stopping me, firstly I don't have a vacuum sealer, and secondly I don't own a water bath. Double nuts! So when I saw this recipe which took into account that the everyday cook lacks both of these implements, I jumped at the chance to try it. Yes, sous vide is a method of cooking something for an extremely long time, so this recipe doesn't quite cut it, but for my purposes, its close enough! Baby steps right?

ocean trout and pearl couscous

I was really impressed at how moreish this dish really was. The fish was so juicy and packed full of flavor and the way the fish was cooked meant that the flesh kept all of its original colour. The pearl couscous, oh my god that couscous. I want to make it every night of my life. I LOVED it. I never thought I could cook something in my own home that tasted of that caliber. The creamy gooey texture of the cheese, the slightly crunchiness of the zucchini and the popping like texture of the couscous, this dish was MADE for me. Its so simple, but yet so delicious.

ocean trout and pearl couscous 3

Only one little problem with it, IT STINKS!! yep it smells like rotten old feet. If you have an issue with smelly cheese, substitute the fontina, but if you're like me and think the smellier the cheese the better, stack in extra!!

fontina cheese
The smelly culprit!

There were a couple of errors that I made which I think worked out for the best. First of all. I forgot the chilli. Yep, how freakin stupid am I! I had already decided that I would leave out the bottarga, I'm a little poor at the moment and couldn't bring myself to buy this stuff for one dish. And the last and most fatal error, I used non-salt reduced chicken stock, so my couscous come out on the salty side. Well probably not so salty to a normal person, but I tend to not eat that much salt (something to do with Daz dying before I have a good go at torturing him with my stupid jokes). It was perfect with the fish, and the extra flavour from the stock was well worth the increased salt level. I could imagine that the bottarga would add a fair amount of salt to the dish anyway, so I'm extra glad I left it out.

couscous dance
Size really does matter right? especially when your sitting next to your pewny competitor!

pearl couscous in pan
Hey, it is exactly like a risotto, in it goes with a little oil to toast....ahh so easy!

Its actually really simple to cook this entire dish. As long as you have everything prepared and ready to go. The couscous is extremely straight forward, really no more difficult than a simple risotto. The tricky part was keeping the temperature of the water for the fish bang on 48C.

ingredients laid out

I had my trusty candy thermometer, I was fresh out of "ocean trout poaching thermometers" so resorted to what I had handy. I decided that 50C was close enough to 48C and if I could keep it there I would be pretty happy with myself.

trusty candy thermometer

It was a bit of juggling. I heated my water to 50C, dropped my fish in...trying to keep it as flat as possible (its all about presentation!) and watched the thermometer. As soon as it started to drop I would put the pan on the gas for a few seconds. I continued to do that for the entire cooking time. I actually poached it for longer than the recommended 15 minutes, closer to 20 actually. It resulted in fish that was a little rarer than my liking, but I've always been a fan of sashimi. Daz on the other hand was feeling a little sick after eating some half cooked fish fat, so decided to microwave his for 20 seconds and ended up with PERFECT fish. Who would have thought. So I would recommend either having smaller portions or cooking it for a little longer.

trout in the pan

Overall, this dish was STELLA! Daz doesn't really like fish (poor boy is stuck with a seafood lover) and after eating this dish he suggested we should start buying more fish. Hallelujah! I knew if I persisted I would make him turn! Now, if only I could convince him on black pudding.

ocean trout and pearl couscous 2


Stephcookie said...

Ahh that looks awesome!! The fish looks perfect. This has inspired me, we bought a vaccuum sealer from ALDI recently but have put off using it since we didn't have a water bath. It does sound like quite a lot of work keeping it at the right temperature though...

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

Well done, it looks fantastic! Another cooking skill under your belt, you'll be hitting up molecular gastronomy soon ;)

Chanel11 said...

Wow - I am salivating right now.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Good job being so patient with the water bath! I'd be interested to try the smelly cheese.

lex said...

ballisimmo! Keep up with the gastronomic experiments :)

Belle@Ooh, Look said...

The sous vide ocean trout looks sensational, well done!
PS: Ooh, ooh, I noticed a Global knife in shot - what do you think of it? I want to get the 20cm cook's knife.

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Stephcookie - You gotta try it, I would love to have a vacuum sealer, I'ver heard that you can do amazing things with strawberries of all things!!

Hi conor - Maybe I could try spherification, maybe turning pea puree into pea sphere's? lol

Hi Chanel11 - Me too!

Hi Arwen - smelly cheese is good, nostrils werent happy, but my tongue was over joyed!

Hi Lex - Thanks! I love the encouragement!

Hi Belle - Daz bought me the beginner set or 6 knives for our anniversary a while back and I just love them! If you dont have reliable knives going with the set is a good choice, cost effective and all. I also purchased a global sharpener to keep them in tip top shape. Its very hard to get them blunt, but a sharp knife is a good knife. I just love my globals. I'd love to do a knife course just to give myself a bit of skill.

Howard said...

Very nice, looks to be cooked perfectly. Where did you the fish from ? Looks nice and fresh.

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Howard - I usually buy my fish from the Queen Vic Market. If I cant be bothered making it all the way to the city then I go to Footscray market, but on this occasion I wasnt lazy!

Howard said...

My bad, for some reason I thought you were from Sydney :P . For nice and fresh fish I need to drive 30 mins for it!

Anh said...

Lovely fish!! And the method of cooking is interesting as well.