“Argentine chef Mauro Callegari of The Independent in Gembrook cooks a salt-baked golden trout fished from the nearby Australian Rainbow Trout Farm. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of salt used in this recipe - it forms a crust that seals in the moisture and juices without making the flesh overly salty.” Rachel Khoo, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook Melbourne
- 3.5 kg table salt
- 2 egg whites
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 whole golden trout, (about 2.5-3 kg), cleaned
- 1.4 litres vegetable stock
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 2 small brown onions, finely chopped
- 5 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- 450 g Arborio rice
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
- 180 g mascarpone
- 100 g Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
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.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Combine the salt and eggwhites in a very large bowl and add enough water to create a mixture with the consistency of wet sand. Spread a 1 cm–thick layer of the salt mixture over a baking tray large enough to comfortably fit the fish. Make a pile of the lemon slices, fennel and rosemary in the centre of the salt and place the fish upright (as it would swim in the water) on top so that the lemon, fennel and rosemary are nestled in the cavity of the fish. Pack the salt mixture around the fish to cover, making sure there aren’t any cracks and leaving the head and the tip of the tail uncovered. Pat it all down firmly, then bake for 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the lime risotto, place the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to as low as possible and keep it simmering on the stovetop. Heat 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil and half the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook for 8-10 minutes or until lightly caramelised. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Add another 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil and the remaining butter to the pan and cook over low-medium heat until the butter is foamy. Add the rice and stir for 4-5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Add the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring until it has all been absorbed before adding the more liquid. It should take around 20 minutes by which time the rice should be al dente. Return the caramelised onions to the risotto when adding the last bit of stock, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside for 5 minutes. This will allow the rice to absorb the remaining liquid without overcooking. Stir in the lime zest and juice, chopped chives, mascarpone and most of the Grana Padano. Season to taste.
To serve, break the salt crust off the fish and carefully peel off and discard the skin. Serve with the lime risotto, a sprinkling of Grana Padano, a drizzle of the remaining extra virgin olive oil and lemon wedges.
Photography by Prue Ruscoe. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Leanne Kitchen. Creative concept by Lou Fay.
Concrete wallpaper from eurowalls. Side plate from Bridget Bodenham. Society napkin from Ondene.