Cured, smoked, marinated freshwater fish and crustaceans, jellied consommé, watercress, wild fennel
Preheat oven to 40C. Preheat deep fryer to 190C.
Fillet cod and remove skin. Set fillets aside. Reserve skin, bones and head.
Fillet trout, pin bone and skin fillets and set aside. Reserve skin, bones and head.
Skin and fillet the eel. Set fillets aside. Reserve skin, bones and head.
Shell the yabbies reserving the shells.
For the fish stock, place the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add shallot, carrot, celery, fennel, garlic, fennel seeds & coriander seeds and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften. Add yabby shells and continue to cook for another 2–3 minutes. Add brandy around edge of pan and cook to reduce. Add white wine and reduce until syrupy. Add chopped tomatoes, all fish skin, bones and heads, (except the trout skin), thyme and star anise. Stir well to combine with the tomatoes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fresh herb leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes. Pass stock through a fine chinois and set aside. Chill.
To make the fish consommé, place carrot, fennel, celery into a food processor and chop finely. Add tomatoes and herbs and process for another 10 seconds. Add eggwhites and process until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a 1 litre saucepan, add the chilled smoked fish stock and whisk thoroughly. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low simmer. As the raft is beginning to form stir it a couple of times to break it up so it sets evenly. Once the raft has risen to the surface make a small hole in one side of it, so you can see the stock simmering underneath, then leave undisturbed. Cook for 30 minutes without breaking the raft. Using a small ladle carefully pass the consommé through a chinois lined with cheese cloth into a bowl. Remove any fat floating on top of the clarified stock using kitchen paper. Pour 250 ml clarified stock into a bowl and set aside. Reserve remaining stock for another use.
Squeeze out the gelatine leaves, place in a small saucepan and gently melt over a low heat. Whisk the dissolved gelatine into the consommé and pour the well combined mixture into a shallow tray. Set aside in the blast chiller to set, for about 5 minutes or until set.
Meanwhile, to cure the cod fillets, place the salt, sugar, lemon zest and dill in a bowl and stir to combine. Spread half mixture over a square of plastic wrap, top with cod fillets, cover with remaining mixture and wrap up tightly in the plastic. Place in the fridge to cure for about 1 hour. Remove from fridge, unwrap and wash off salt mixture. Pat fish dry and set aside in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, until needed.
Trim and scrape clean the trout skins and place on a baking tray. Place in the oven until completely dehydrated, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and set aside.
To cure the trout fillets, place the salt, sugar, dill and ¼ lemon zest in a bowl and stir to combine. Spread half the mixture over a square of plastic wrap, top with trout fillets, cover with remaining mixture and wrap up tightly in the plastic. Place in the fridge to cure for about 20 minutes. Remove from fridge, unwrap and wash off salt mixture. Pat fish dry and set aside in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, until needed.
To prepare the eel, cut each fillet into approximately 10cm lengths and stack each of the equal size pieces on top of one another. Press each stack together to form a neat rectangle and wrap tightly with plastic wrap into a neat rectangular block. Place in the blast chiller until frozen, about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from chiller and using an electric slicer, shave long flat slices of frozen smoked eel directly onto small pieces of greaseproof paper, lining up 3-4 slices next to each other (carpaccio style). Set aside the slices on the papers stacked on top of each other in the fridge until needed.
Gut the yabby tails, wash thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place the yabbie tails into a sous vide bag with olive oil, thyme and lemon zest and seal. Poach at 52C until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove the bag from the water and cool by plunging into iced water. Set aside the bag in the fridge until needed.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add the watercress and blanch for 40 seconds. Drain, shock in iced water. Drain. Squeeze dry in cheese cloth. Roughly chop watercress and transfer to a Thermomix. Add lemon zest and juice and process , adding sufficient extra virgin olive oil to make a thick paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pass through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Set aside in the fridge until needed.
Combine crème fraiche with sufficient drops of mustard oil and a few pinches of salt to make a well seasoned lightly pungent accompaniment. Set aside until needed.
To finish the cured trout. Dice the cured trout and place in a small bowl. Add the cucumber, capers and remaining lemon zest and stir to combine. Store in fridge until ready to plate
To finish cured Murray Cod- slice into fine slices on an angle as for sashimi.
To cook the fish skin crackling - Cut each skin in half with scissors. Fry each skin piece individually and very quickly only until the skin expands, moving the skin through the oil with tongs. Remove with tongs immediately onto kitchen paper to drain. Season with salt and preferably use whilst still warm.
To assemble, turn a small ‘paper’ of eel slices onto the middle of your serving plate – carpaccio style. Position two or three curls of finely sliced Murray cod at the extremity of the eel slices. Intersperse with two mounds of the cured trout mix and the yabbies. Position a quenelle of the mustard flavoured crème fraiche in the middle of the eel slices. Remove the tray of jellied consommé from the fridge and scoop three tablespoons of the jelly around the assembly & the plate. Intersperse with two or three small drops of watercress puree, and smear slightly. Garnish with fronds and flowers of wild fennel.
Use the quenelle of crème fraiche to anchor two pieces of fish skin crackling.