Coral trout is one of my favourite fish to eat. Not only does its flesh have this incredible flavour, which is like fish, scallop and prawn combined, it also has this amazing texture, which works wonderfully with this ripe tomato sauce. Inspired by Roger Vergé's first cookbook, Cuisine of the Sun (1979), this sauce was one of the very first things I put on the menu at Barrenjoey House in Palm Beach back in 1982.
4 x 180g coral trout fillets
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
For the sauce vierge (makes about 500ml)
3 vine-ripened tomatoes*
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and halved
2 tbsp chopped chervil
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
8 coriander seeds, crushed
250ml extra virgin olive oil*
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Remove the stalks from the tomatoes and plunge them into boiling water for several seconds. Refresh in iced water and peel the skin off with a vegetable knife. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and de-seed. Scoop out the pulp with a spoon and cut into 2cm dice.
2. Mix the diced tomatoes with all the other ingredients in a bowl, then set aside for 1-2 hours for the flavours to mature.
3. Preheat the barbecue to hot and make sure the grill bars are clean. Liberally sprinkle the fillets with sea salt and brush with the extra virgin olive oil. Place on the grill at a 45-degree angle to the bars and cook for 2 minutes, then turn the fish to 45 degrees in the opposite direction and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove and rest in a warm place for 3-4 minutes.
4. Place each fillet, which will present well with its grill marks, on a white plate and spoon over the sauce. Add a twist of freshly ground pepper and serve.
*Tip: This is a summer dressing, so you want to be using tomatoes that are sweet and just bursting with summer sunshine. And, as always with these simple fish dressings, it's imperative that the oil be of the highest quality.