For shallow-frying:vegetable oil6mulloway fillets (about 180gm each)25 gmbutter1garlic clove, crushed1thyme sprig1 tsplemon juice, or to taste6Brussels sprouts, leaves separated, steamed2-3 tbspsquid ink, thinned with a little water, and fennel fronds, to serveBrandade croquettes1mulloway fillet (about 200gm), skin removed, coarsely chopped30 gmsea salt flakesFinelygrated rind of 1 lemon2garlic cloves, bruised1thyme sprig500 ml (2 cups)milk500 gmDesiree potatoes (about 2)400 gmrock salt50 gmsalted capers, rinsed, coarsely chopped½ cup (firmly packed)flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped50 mlolive oil, or to taste50 mllemon juice, or to taste100 gm (2/3 cup)plain flour, plus extra for dusting3eggs, lightly beaten200 gmdried white breadcrumbsFor deep-frying:vegetable oilPickled pumpkin200 mlwhite wine vinegar100 gmwhite sugar1star anise½cinnamon quill¼butternut pumpkin (about 300gm), cut into 1.5cm cubes
For brandade croquettes, combine mulloway, salt, lemon rind, garlic and thyme in a non-reactive dish and refrigerate to lightly cure (overnight). Brush excess salt from fish (discard cure), place in a saucepan with milk, bring to the simmer and cook over a low heat until just cooked (5-7 minutes). Cool in milk, strain (reserve milk), coarsely flake and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Roast potato on a bed of rock salt until tender and cooked through (45-55 minutes), then pass through a mouli or potato ricer (see note) into a bowl. Add 50ml reserved poaching milk, then mix in capers, parsley and fish. Season to taste with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, refrigerate until cooled (30 minutes), then roll into 12 cylinders. Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dust croquettes with flour, then dip in egg and roll in breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between. Repeat with egg and breadcrumbs to thickly coat, then refrigerate until required.
For pickled pumpkin, combine vinegar, sugar and 600ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, dry-roast star anise and cinnamon (10-20 seconds). Add to vinegar mixture with pumpkin and bring to the boil over medium heat, then remove from heat, cool pumpkin in liquid and set aside.
Preheat vegetable oil in a deep-sided saucepan to 160C. Deep-fry croquettes in batches until cooked through (6-7 minutes; be careful as hot oil may spit). Keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil 1cm-deep in a large non-stick ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Dust fish with flour and cook, skin-side down, until skin is crisp (4-5 minutes), then transfer to oven and roast until just cooked through (3 minutes). Drain excess oil from pan, add butter, garlic and thyme to pan and cook over high heat until butter foams (1 minute), then turn fish. Add lemon juice to taste, remove from heat and stand until fish is almost cooked through (2-3 minutes). Season to taste and serve with croquettes, drops of squid ink and drained pickled pumpkin, scattered with steamed Brussels sprouts and fennel fronds.
Note Moulis and potato ricers are available from kitchenware shops. Alternatively, you can mash the potato with a hand masher.
This recipe is from the August 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.