S: “First day of autumn wut.”
Me: “I know, still feels like summer.”
S: “I mean, how is it possibly March already??”
Me: “I reckon – I’m still trying to get used to writing 2016.”
Our third month into 2016 – it’s about now that the workday office blues have started to set in. Earlier last week I met the missus after work and we were going to head straight over to mine for dinner; half past 5.00pm and the train station was packed to the gills – everyone in a rush to get home after the Leap Year day blues (an extra work day of the year and it’s a Monday – go figure). With neither of us being a fan of being smushed like sardines, we discussed that it would be a better use of our time and better on our nerves to go back out of the station and have a quick drink before trying to get back on the train.
Luckily I have something to look forward to. I’ve run my annual leave request past my managers and they have approved my two weeks off in early May to go to Japan! I still remember last year’s one week escape down to Melbourne with Night Owl – just two days out of our regular schedules and we already felt amazingly rested and rejuvenated; although it may have had something to do with all the decadent food and cocktails we had on our first night! Night Owl and I have fond memories of all the brunches we had in Melbourne. Usually I can be a bit “eh” about brunch because a lot of places offer dishes that can be made easily at home: scrambled eggs, baked eggs, pancakes, smoothies. But every place we went to in Melbourne had the most incredible items on their breakfast and brunch menus, from breakfast ramen with bacon dashi to Spanish black pudding with polenta bars.
I received beautiful pieces of hot-smoked salmon and trout late recently from Petuna Seafoods Tasmania, and I wanted to integrate it into a lovely dish that would highlight the natural aromas of the delicately smoked fish. The backbone of Petuna Seafoods Tasmania is made up by Peter and Una Rockliff – both from fishing backgrounds – who joined their names together to name one of their boats ‘Petuna’. Their Ocean Trout and Atlantic Salmon is sourced from the remote south-west coast of Tasmania, where the chilled Franklin-Gordon Rivers merge with the salt water of the Great Southern Ocean. As a reflection of their quality, Petuna’s products are used by a number of very notable chefs, including Tetsuya Wakuda from Tetsuya’s Sydney (that confit ocean trout dish will forever hold a dear place in my food memories) and Steven Seckhold of Flying Fish, Sydney. Just reading on the Petuna website and looking at the photographs of the pristine, vivid Tasmanian landscape had me longing to go back – the produce there is simply out of this world. I also miss the clear, refreshing Tasman air.
I made these fritters to complement the hot-smoked ocean trout, tearing the trout into big, generous chunks interspersed around the plate. You don’t have to do the open layout of plating that I’ve done; if you wanted to, you could also make larger, flatter fritters and stack them, layering them with a generous smear of the mascarpone, shredded trout and topping with micro-herbs and the pickled radishes. I’ve added dollops of rich mascarpone to add a creamy, neutral characteristic to the dish, and homemade pickled radish slices to add elements of colour, acidity and crunch.
Corn and Zucchini Fritters with Petuna Ocean Trout (an original recipe by Cath @ Confessions of a Glutton)
- 1 zucchini, grated;
- 1 small brown onion, chopped finely;
- 1 clove of garlic;
- 1/2 cob of fresh corn, shaved off the cob;
- 1 egg, whisked;
- 3-4 tablespoons plain flour;
- 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, grated;
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, plus extra for shallow frying;
- 1 Petuna by Peter & Una Rockcliff Hot-Smoked Ocean Trout fillet;
- 1/2 cup mascarpone;
- Pickled radishes, recipe here;
- Salt flakes and freshly ground black peppercorns;
- Microherbs and lemon wedge, to garnish.
Spread out the grated zucchini in a large sieve and sprinkle over two teaspoons of salt flakes. Leave for ten minutes then using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Heat a medium-sized frypan over a low heat and heat the two teaspoons of vegetable oil. Increase the heat to medium and add the onion, frying until translucent, before adding the garlic and corn. Stir until the garlic is fragrant and the onion not yet brown.
Remove from heat, cool slightly and add to the zucchini. Add the whisked egg, flour and Parmesan and combine, adding black pepper to taste.
Heat about a half-inch of vegetable oil in the same frying pan. Test the heat by dropping in a small bit of mixture and seeing if it bubbles. Once it does, scoop heaped tablespoons of the corn and zucchini fritter mixture into the fry pan, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a few minutes until you see the edges of the base start to brown, then gently flip to brown the other side. When both sides are golden, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
You may want to give the mascarpone a quick whisk before spooning it into a sandwich bag or piping bag. If using a sandwich bag, snip off the end about 1cm in from the point and you’re ready to assemble! Lay the fritters out onto the plate, tearing up large chunks of the lightly smoky ocean trout over them. Get your piping bag of mascarpone and pipe little dollops at random around and between the fritters and trout. Add some drained pickles, before scattering with microherbs and serving with lemon on the side.