This is our signature dish. It’ll never ever come off the menu. We eat one every day. You’ve got to eat them straight away with your fingers. We don’t call these fish fingers because they’re fingers of fish, we call them fish fingers because you’ve gotta use your mitts. Some people try and use a knife and fork and we go ‘Oi! What are you doing? Use your hands!’ This is the recipe for our classic kingfish fingers, but you can make any variation you like: mackerel, raw scallop, pickled veal tongue, crab, even Spam. But do you know what it’s really all about? The garlic toast. Fresh, raw seafood on burnt, charred toast is really delicious. It’s the contrast of the toast — all warm, salty and charred — with the clean, cold fish that makes this so incredible.
- 4 cuttlefish
- 4 slices levain bread (crusty semi-sourdough), about 1.5 cm (⅝ inch) thick
- 2 garlic cloves, halved
- extra virgin olive oil
- river salt flakes
- 2 x 250 g (9 oz) pieces of sashimi-grade hiramasa kingfish top loin, skin off and pinboned
- 2 tsp chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- ¼ of a small brown onion, thinly sliced
- freshly ground white pepper
- 1 small piece of mojama, about 2.5 cm (1 inch)
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.
To prepare the cuttlefish, gently pull off the tentacles so the insides come out with them. Cut just underneath the eyes and remove and discard any beak from the tentacles. Save the tentacles to fry up later, as a snack. Discard the eyes and any insides and gently pull the cartilage from the body and discard. Remove the skin, wash gently then dice.
Preheat a large grill plate or barbecue grill over a high heat and grill the bread until well charred on both sides. Rub the hottest side of each slice of bread with half a garlic clove then drizzle heavily with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt.
Cut each slice of bread into four equal ‘fingers’.
Slice the kingfish 5 mm (¼ inch) thick and place on the toast.
Mix the diced cuttlefish in a bowl with the coriander, lime juice, some salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
Place a spoonful on each piece of fish then top with a couple of very thin slices of onion and season lightly with white pepper.
Microplane the mojama liberally over all of the fingers and serve.
Recipe and image from Recipes for a Good Time, Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz (Murdoch Books, $59.99, hbk)