Dahlia from Cloud 59 restaurant shares her recipe for Lebanese-style fried fish. Shane adds yet another layer to the dish with his own spiced orange salt. Fresh seafood is an important aspect of this dish so ask your fishmonger for the catch of the day.
- 3 x 500 g baby snapper, cleaned
- 3 x 350 g King George whiting, cleaned
- salt and black pepper
- 2 calamari, cleaned, tentacles reserved
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- lemon and lime cheeks, to serve
- spicy Dahlia chips, to serve
Spiced orange salt
- 3 oranges
- 1 g saffron
- 1 star anise
- 6 cloves
- pinch of sea salt
- salt and black pepper
- 500 g chickpea flour (besan flour)
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.
Dehydrating time 24 hours
To prepare the orange salt, remove the orange rind using a vegetable peeler. Remove any white pith from the rind, as it will make the salt bitter. Place the rind, saffron, star anise and cloves in a dehydrator lined with baking paper and cook at 60°C for 24 hours or until completely dry and crunchy. Alternatively, place the orange rind and spices on an oven tray and place in the oven. Set the oven to pilot or the lowest temperature possible and cook for 5–6 hours or until completely dry. Cooking time will depend on setting of your oven. Once dry, transfer the orange rind and spices to a spice grinder and add the salt. Blend until fine. Alternatively, pound in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Store in an airtight container.
Score the snapper and whiting a few times on each side, then season inside and out with salt and black pepper.
Slice down the seam of one side of the calamari and score the inside flesh in a crisscross pattern. Slice into eight pieces.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large wok to 180°C. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Coat each piece of seafood with the chickpea flour, inside and out, immediately before frying it, shaking off any excess. Don’t try to cook too much at one time as it will lower the temperature of the oil and the seafood will stew rather than fry and you won’t achieve a beautiful golden crust. Cook the snapper for 6–7 minutes, the whiting for 4–5 minutes and the calamari and tentacles for 1–2 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
Arrange the seafood on a serving platter and sprinkle lightly with orange salt. Serve with lemon and lime cheeks, the chips and extra orange salt to the side.