July 6, 2016
Our ancestors had to resort to a whole array of culinary processes to preserve food to eat later. Salt, spices, smoke and alcohol and sugar and thick layers of fat all came in very handy and helped to turn gluts of food into something that could be stored for those days when the cupboard was bare.
Never mind necessity, which is not a priority these days – the reason we still love curing and preserving food today is because the results taste amazing, intensifying flavours into something irresistible.
Ben Hegarty, Head Chef at the Brudenell’s Seafood & Grill, is a fan of curing and one of his summer favourites is gin cured trout. ‘Gins are really ideal because their distinctive notes help to add layers of taste which are incredibly refreshing. The alcohol also helps to ‘cook’ the raw fish so it remains very tender and delicate too.’
If you’d like to try gin-cured trout at home this is how it’s done – and give yourself a day or two.
1 large side of sea trout
1 kg rock salt
1 kg sugar
4 lemons' zest
1 bunch dill
5 shots of gin (35 ml each)
500 ml tonic
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place the trout into a large tray, compact the salt & sugar mix over the side of trout until completely covered. Leave for 24 – 48 hours dependent on trout size. Wash under cold water to remove all the sugar-salt mix.
1 shot of gin (35 ml)
100 ml tonic
Punch of dill
60 g sugar
Pinch of salt & pepper
Peel cucumbers. Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl. Add cucumbers into the curing mix and leave for 1 hour.
Slice trout very thinly and place on a plate, add the cucumber garnish. If you’d like to add slightly scorched grapefruit you can, but it’s just as delicious without.