The Australian yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) – ‘hiramasa’ is Japanese for kingfish – is a natural inhabitant of the waters off South Australia, where it is now farmed. Its firm flesh is full of flavour, and is superbly moist and silky. At billy kwong we buy the whole fish from our fishmonger and then fillet it ourselves, before serving it thinly sliced and raw, sashimi-style. This recipe is all about the beauty of fresh seafood – it is about having a product so fresh and so high in quality that you really shouldn’t do too much to it. Make sure you use only the freshest, best-quality fish – and your sharpest knife to slice it into super-fine, beautiful sheets. If you can’t get kingfish, substitute any other sashimi-grade fish fillets, such as tuna, salmon or swordfish. The fennel must be young and small, to ensure it will be sweet and tender.
If you can’t get kingfish, substitute any other sashimi-grade fish fillets, such as tuna, salmon or swordfish.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 salad onions, trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 medium-sized lemon
- 200 g (6 ½ oz) sashimi-grade kingfish fillet
- ½ baby fennel bulb, trimmed and very finely sliced
- 2 tsp salted capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 small vine-ripened tomato, cut in half and finely sliced
- 2 tsp finely shredded flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tsp finely shredded mint leaves
- 2 tsp picked chervil leaves
- pinch of cracked white pepper
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.
Serve as a starter for 2
- Heat oil in a heavy-based pan, add onion and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Add sugar and salt, reduce heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes, or until mixture starts to caramelise. Stir in vinegar and simmer for a further 30 seconds. Set aside.
- Cut a slice from one end of the lemon. Stand the lemon cut-side down on a chopping board and, using a small, sharp knife, cut skin and pith away from flesh by slicing from top to bottom following the curve of the fruit. Slice between the membranes on either side of each segment to free it, then repeat with the remainder of the segments. Take care to remove all pith, otherwise the bitterness will interfere with the clean flavours of this dish.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut fish into 5 mm (¼ in) slices and arrange on a platter. Top with lemon segments, fennel, capers and tomato. Spoon over the caramelised onions and garnish with fresh herbs and pepper.