Pan-fried kahawai with pickled heirloom peppers and red onions
Aaron Stott, owner and chef of Tinakori Bistro in Wellington, created this pan-fried kahawai dish for Seafood New Zealand's bestfishguide which covers everything from sustainable fish to cooking lesser used varieties found in New Zealand waters.
For the kahawai
|1 fillet||Kahawai, approx. 150-200g per person, skin on|
|½ tsp||Salt, per fillet|
|1 tsp||Sugar, per fillet|
|1 scoop||Tapioca flour, to dredge fish|
|1 dash||Shallot oil, for frying (see note below)|
For the pickled sushi-zu base
|250 ml||Rice vinegar|
|10 g||Kombu, Japanese kelp|
|1||Red onion, finely sliced in rings|
|3||Heirloom peppers, finely sliced in rings|
|1||Red chilli, finely sliced|
For the garnish
- Rub the kahawai with the dry brine — ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar per fillet. Cover and refrigerate the fish for a few hours, preferably overnight.
- Bring the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and kombu to a boil and let cool. Add the sliced peppers, onion and chilli to this pickling base and refrigerate.
- Score the kahawai skin in a criss-cross pattern. Dredge the fillets in tapioca flour. Heat shallot oil in a pan and fry the fillets, skin side down on medium heat. Flip over and cook until done.
- Arrange the fillet on a plate, top with pickled peppers and onion, microgreens and a couple of chopped, smoked mussels. Drizzle the lot with good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle over black sesame seeds.
Note: You can make your own shallot oil by frying shallots in any bland, flavourless oil (like soybean oil). Remove the shallots after frying and reserve the oil, which can be used to add a smoky onion flavour to many preparations.