Chef's Recipes

Kingfish crudo, burnt ruby grapefruit, pickled fennel and anchovy

Recipe for kingfish crudo, burnt ruby grapefruit, pickled fennel and anchovy by Sean McConnell from Monster in Canberra.

By Sean McConnell
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking plus curing, pickling
  • Serves 6
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Kingfish crudo, burnt ruby grapefruit, pickled fennel and anchovy
"Since day one, we've always tried to feature raw or cured seafood on the bar menu," says McConnell. "The clean and delicate flavours are the perfect way to start a meal. I use Hiramasa kingfish, farmed in South Australia. It's a super-consistent product and is readily available all year round." Begin this recipe at least three days ahead to pickle the fennel. 


  • 2 ruby grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 3 radishes, very thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 12 nasturtium leaves
  • 125 gm Ortiz anchovies
  • 125 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
Pickled fennel
  • 3 baby fennel bulbs, fronds reserved for curing mixture
  • 150 ml rice wine vinegar
  • 110 gm (½ cup) white sugar
Cured kingfish
  • 60 gm (½ cup) salt flakes (McConnell uses Murray River salt)
  • 90 gm white sugar
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted and lightly crushed
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds, roasted and lightly crushed
  • Fronds from 3 heads of baby fennel, coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 500 gm kingfish fillet, skin off, blood line removed


  • 1
    For pickled fennel, halve fennel lengthways, remove cores, then thinly slice lengthways on a mandolin and place in a preserving jar. Stir vinegar, sugar, 225ml water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to a simmer, then pour over fennel. Cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate for at least 3 days. Pickled fennel keeps in a sealed container for two months and develops in flavour with time. This recipe makes more than you need, but it’s handy to have in the fridge.
  • 2
    For cured kingfish, combine ingredients except kingfish in a bowl. Place kingfish in a deep tray or dish, pour salt mixture over, turn fillet to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Rinse off curing mixture, pat kingfish dry with paper towels, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until required. This step can be done up to a day in advance.
  • 3
    Place grapefruit segments on an oven tray and caramelise the surface with a blowtorch (or do this under a hot grill). Slice kingfish across the grain into 5mm slices and arrange on serving plates or a platter. Scatter with grapefruit, nasturtiums, radish, anchovies and a little pickled fennel. Mix olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl, season to taste, drizzle over kingfish and serve.


Drink Suggestion: 2015 Eden Road Canberra Riesling. Drink suggestion by Michael Gray