Poached trout with pickled cucumbers

Zesty fish: Poached ocean trout with pickled cucumbers.
Zesty fish: Poached ocean trout with pickled cucumbers. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Tasmanian ocean trout has a distinctive rosy pink-orange flesh which makes it an ideal poaching fish. The cucumber pickle is one I used to make when we had MoVida bakery. It was very popular and went with almost everything, from aged cheddar cheese to poached salmon.

Ingredients

600ml water

1 brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped thinly

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 lemon, sliced

60ml white vinegar

60ml white wine

2 sprigs tarragon

6 black peppercorns

1 star anise

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp salt

4 x 150g ocean trout fillets, pin boned with skin on 

Pickled cucumbers

600g young Lebanese cucumbers, unpeeled

1 brown onion, thinly sliced

1½  tbsp salt

¼ cup hot water

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 cup sugar

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

1 tsp dill, chopped

¼ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp chilli flakes

Method

For the poached fish, place all the ingredients except the fish in a medium-sized saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the fish and simmer for about 10 minutes. Lift the fish out gently and squeeze it to see if it is still soft in the middle - it should feel firm when it is done.

When ready, lift fish out, place on a plate and remove the skin. Spoon some pickled cucumbers (see recipe below) onto a serving plate, then break the fillet into a few pieces and place on top of the pickle. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Pickled cucumbers
Slice cucumbers thinly then mix with sliced onion in a large stainless bowl. Dissolve salt in hot water, then pour over cucumber mixture. Mix through and leave for 3 hours. To make pickling liquid, mix remaining ingredients in a saucepan big enough to hold all the mixture including the cucumber. Bring to the simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Pour the cucumber mix into a colander and press out any liquid gently.

Tip the cucumber into the pickling liquid and simmer for 2-4 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and put 3 cups aside for this recipe, then spoon the rest into sterilised jars for future use, ensuring the cucumber is covered by liquid. Makes 5 x 300g jars.