Chef's Recipes

Grilled coral trout with pickled Buddha’s hands

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for grilled coral trout with pickled Buddha’s hands by Paul Wilson from Half Moon.

By Paul Wilson
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus pickling, infusing
Grilled coral trout with pickled Buddha’s hands
Grilled coral trout with pickled Buddha’s hands

Pristine fish prepared simply is such a culinary pleasure, especially when dressed with our Australian world-class extra-virgin olive oil infused with fragrant herbs. The pickled Buddha's hands in this recipe should be a welcome addition to your fridge as they have many other uses such as flavouring risotti, stews and roasts. You'll need to begin this recipe a week ahead.


  • 4 coral trout fillets, pin-boned (about 175gm each)
  • 25 ml extra-virgin olive oil
Pickled Buddha’s hands
  • 2 large Buddha’s hands or unwaxed organic lemons (see note)
  • 50 ml lemon juice
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
Olive oil sauce
  • ½ tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp each coriander seeds and fennel seeds
  • 250 ml (1 cup) organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • ¼ bunch each tarragon, parsley, dill and chives, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only


  • 1
    For pickled Buddha’s hands, slice Buddha’s hands very thinly and transfer to a bowl, add remaining ingredients, 25gm sea salt and 50ml water. Scatter over a non-reactive tray in a single layer, cover with a damp absorbent cloth and stand at room temperature, turning occasionally, keeping cloth damp, until pickled (1-2 weeks).
  • 2
    For olive oil sauce, dry-roast spices in a small frying pan until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Combine extra-virgin olive oil with spices and garlic, refrigerate to infuse (6 hours-overnight), pass through a fine sieve, then add herbs, lemon juice and rind and season to taste.
  • 3
    Heat a non-stick frying pan or char-grill over high heat. Season fish with sea salt, brush with olive oil and cook skin-side down, applying a little pressure so fish cooks evenly (3-5 minutes), then turn and cook until just cooked through (1-2 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper, transfer to a serving plate, top with pickled Buddha’s hands, then dress with olive oil sauce. Serve with a green salad.


Note Buddha's hands are available from Asian grocers. You can use lemons instead.

  • Author: Paul Wilson