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Roasted gurnard with smoky eggplant, farro and boiled lemon

A whole fish is easy to cook and makes an amazing centrepiece. Gurnard makes a nice change from the usual suspects, but the idea is to buy the best and freshest fish available on the day. You could cook the fish in the oven or on a kettle barbecue.

You'll need

1 red gurnard (about 2kg) 2 lemons, thickly sliced 1 head of garlic, thickly sliced 6 mint sprigs For drizzling: olive oil To serve: sumac   Smoky eggplant 3 eggplant 80 gm hulled tahini 80 gm thick plain yoghurt 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste 1 garlic clove, finely chopped   Farro and boiled lemon salad 350 gm farro ½ lemon, thinly sliced, seeds discarded ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 70 ml extra-virgin olive oil 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar ¾ cup each coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint and coriander 20 gm pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped


  • 01
  • For smoky eggplant, char eggplant over an open flame or on a barbecue, turning occasionally, until very tender (10-15 minutes). Transfer to a colander placed in the sink or a bowl to drain, then halve and scoop out flesh into a clean bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste and refrigerate until required. Smoky eggplant will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • 02
  • For farro salad, cook farro in a saucepan of boiling water until tender (30-35 minutes), then drain and spread on a tray to cool. Meanwhile, boil lemon slices in a separate saucepan of water until very tender (10-12 minutes), drain, set aside to cool, then finely chop and combine in a bowl with farro. Add onion, garlic, oil and vinegar, season to taste and stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until required. Just before serving, stir in herbs and pistachios and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Pat fish dry inside and out with paper towels, then slash the skin on each side 3-4 times. Stuff cavity with lemon, garlic and mint, secure at intervals with kitchen string and place on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with oil, season generously to taste and roast until fish flakes easily when pressed with a fork (20-30 minutes). Stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with sumac and serve with smoky eggplant and farro and boiled lemon salad.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Pale dry rosé.

Featured in

Dec 2015

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