"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
- 3 baby fennel bulbs, fronds reserved for curing mixture
- 150 ml rice wine vinegar
- 110 gm (½ cup) white sugar
- 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
- 1For 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.
- 2For 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.
- 3Place 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