I didn’t expect to find seaweed used in Turkish cooking but when I heard that it grows all around the Turkish coast, it made perfect sense. It made me think of this dish, which encapsulates all of the flavours of the Bosphorus.
Cemen-cured blue eye
- 450 g piece skinless blue eye, bone and bloodline removed
- 40 g ground fenugreek
- 40 g smoked paprika
- 15 g coriander seed, roasted and coarsely cracked
- 15 g ground cumin
- 80 g salt
- 80 g sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 300 g beach banana (see Note)
- 100 g Lebanese cucumber, finely chopped
- 21 g cold cream gel (see Note)
- 50 g white cod roe paste
- 300 g Maltosec (see Note)
- 100 ml white wine vinegar
- 100 g brown sugar
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 12 baby black cabbage leaves, or other very young leaves
- 6 coriander shoots
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 3-4 hours
To make the cured blue eye, combine all dry ingredients with the orange zest. Place the fish in a flat plastic or glass dish and pack the spice mixture all over the fish, making sure it is completely and thickly covered in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Rinse the fish briefly under cold running water to remove the excess spices, leaving a thin layer of spice still on the fish (like a traditional bastourma). Pat dry the fish, then cut across the grain in to 5mm-thick slices, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Meanwhile, to make the seaweed puree, blend the beach banana and cucumber in a high powered blender on maximum speed until smooth. Add the cold cream gel, then blend for 10 seconds or until well combined. Pass through a fine sieve, then transfer to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate until required.
To make the tarama powder, combine both ingredients in a bowl until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the carrot pickle, place the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until cool. Using a Japanese mandolin, thinly slice the carrot lengthways to make 12 ribbons. Drop the carrot ribbons into lightly salted boiling water for 10 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and drop into iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry on paper towel. Just before serving, toss the carrot ribbons in a drizzle of pickling liquid, then roll up into cylinders.
To serve, place a slice of fish in the middle of the plate. Dot the seaweed puree around the plate, add the carrot ribbons and a spoonful of tarama powder. Top with the black cabbage leaves and coriander shoots and serve immediately.
• Beach bananas aren’t actually seaweed at all but rather a type of succulent native to the Gippsland region of Victoria. They impart a salty, fresh burst of flavour similar to the taste of the ocean. Available from select greengrocers. If unavailable, use samphire instead.
• Also sold Ultra tex, cold cream gel is a powdered tapioca starch is used to emulsify and thicken cold liquids and requires no heating. Available online from The Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot and other specialist food stores.
• Also known as maltodextrin, matosec is is a powder derived from tapioca. It has the ability to absorb fats and convert them into a paste or powder and is also used as a bulking agent and to stabilise high fat ingredients. Available from specialist food stores.