"This is a great dish to organise ahead of time," says Josh Niland. "Start the brioche a day ahead to prove the dough. The cooked brioche can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or frozen. The ocean trout will keep refrigerated for up to a week." Start this recipe three days ahead to cure the fish.
- 35gm caster sugar
- 30gm sea salt flakes
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fennel fronds
- 600gm piece boneless ocean trout, preferably Petuna, skin on
- lemon wedges, to serve
- 14gm dried yeast (2 sachets)
- 2 tbsp warm milk
- 7 eggs
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 500gm bread flour (3⅓ cups)
- 300gm butter, diced and brought to room temperature for 30 minutes
Fennel crème fraîche
- 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped, plus half the fronds, coarsely chopped
- 250gm crème fraîche
- 1Combine sugar, salt and fennel fronds in a bowl. On a work surface, place 2 sheets of plastic wrap overlapping and long enough to enclose the trout. Spread half the salt mixture over the wrap, place trout on top and spread with remaining salt mixture. Wrap trout tightly in the plastic wrap, place on a tray and refrigerate for 3 days, turning each day. Some liquid will be drawn from the fish but don't discard it – this acts as a brine in the curing process.
- 2For brioche dough, combine yeast and milk in a small jug and stand in warm place until foamy (5 minutes). Whisk 6 eggs, sugar, 3 tsp salt and 1½ tbsp water in a bowl to combine and set aside. Place flour in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast and egg mixtures and mix on low speed until a smooth dough forms into a ball (5-6 minutes). Increase speed to medium and gradually add butter a couple of pieces at a time, beating well between additions, then mix until dough is smooth and glossy (8-10 minutes). Knead on a lightly floured work surface and form into a tight ball. Transfer to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a draught-free place until doubled in size (2 hours). Knock back on a lightly floured bench by folding it over on itself, bring dough into ball again, return to bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- 3For fennel crème fraîche, combine ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until required.
- 4Butter a 11cm x 23cm loaf tin and line it with baking paper. Knock back dough on a lightly floured bench. Divide into 5 equal pieces, roll each into a tight ball and place balls in a single row in prepared tin. Beat remaining egg with a pinch of salt and brush it on brioche. Cover and prove until dough rises to the top of the tin (1-1½ hours). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Bake brioche until golden and crisp on top (30-35 minutes). Cool briefly in tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- 5Toast thick slices of brioche. Unwrap trout and wipe off salt mixture. Place trout skin-side down on a board and thinly slice with a sharp knife, leaving the skin behind. Place a spoon of crème fraîche on each serving plate, arrange trout slices on top and season to taste. Serve with brioche and lemon.
Drink Suggestion: A Tasmanian chardonnay. Drink suggestion by Wimmy Winkler