Our Home Cook, Molly Ward takes on Eugene Burgo, Executive Chef of Mures Upper Deck, Hobart Tasmania. 

If you’re thinking Easter seafood, why not tackle a whole fish for oven-to-table dramatic effect and a delicious Sunday lunch.

Food Miles: How does the fish suit the dish?

Eugene: My recipe is Whole Alfonsino Tsumeta, with Kinoko Burosu (in plain English, Japanese Style Stuffed Alfonsino with Mushroom Dashi Broth).

The Alfonsino is a deepwater fish from Southern Australia, especially found in the deep waters around Tasmania. It has a firm texture with a delicate, sweet flavor which is perfectly complemented by the smokey broth but not overpowered by the mushrooms. The ingredients of the stuffing add a deeper note to the flavours while the organic salad adds acidity and freshness and makes a delicious and spectacular centrepiece for a special meal.

Food Miles: What inspires you as a chef?

Eugene: Whether it’s in the restaurant kitchen or my home kitchen, I get pleasure from cooking with good produce. I particularly enjoy all the different, fresh and organic produce that is now available in Tasmania. I also do love the day-to-day craziness in a professional kitchen and the “apparent” calm at the front-of-house which the guests experiences. Then at the end of the day, the satisfaction of knowing that we have satisfied our guests and were able to provide them with a great experience

RECIPE

Whole Alfonsino Tsumeta, with Kinoko Burosu

Kinoko Burosu

Ingredients

4 cups water

100-120sq cm (or 13-18g) of kombu (kelp)

ó a cup loosely packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

100g Cygnet shitaki mushrooms

100g Tasmanian Huon brown mushrooms

100g Cygnet Oyster mushrooms

1 tsp red miso paste

Method

Place the water and the kombu in a pot and let the kombu soak for about 15 minutes. Place the pot over medium heat. Right before the water starts to boil (watch for bubbles starting to break around the edge of the pot), remove the pot from the heat and scatter the kosuobushi over the surface of the water.

After 3-4 minutes (the katsuobushi will have sunk to the bottom), strain the stock through a strainer lined with a tightly woven cotton cloth or a coffee-filter.

Return to the pot, stir in the miso paste, add the sliced mushrooms and poach mushrooms on a low heat.

The Kinoko Burosu can be kept refrigerated, in a tightly covered container, for up to 4 days – but is best fresh.

Organic Salad with Ponzu Dressing

Ponzu Dressing Ingredients (to be prepared in advance)

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste

1/3 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 cup good-quality soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin (or 1/4 cup sake and 1 tablespoon sugar)

8cm piece konbu (kelp)

1/2 cup (about 7g) katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

Pinch cayenne

Salad Ingredients

50g Organic sunflower greens

50g Radishini

50g Pak choy

50g julienne carrot

10g Red shiso leaves

Method

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Strain. Just before using, you might add a small squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.

In a bowl, combine all salad ingredients, when the Alfonsino is ready to serve, drizzle with dressing and mix to combine.

Please note: Covered and refrigerated, ponzu will keep for several days.

Alfonsino and Tsumeta

Ingredients

1.5kg whole Alfonsino (or other mild flavoured fish such as Bream) – cleaned and scaled

Vegetable oil

150ml dry white wine

Salt & freshly groud pepper

Tsumeta

300g Panko breadcrumbs

1 long red cayenne chilli (roughly chopped)

1 long green cayenne chilli (roughly chopped)

1 bunch coriander roots (roughly chopped)

1 bunch mint leaves

100ml Mirim

100ml rice wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of lemon

Zest of lime

150ml clarified butter

Method

Heat oven to 190 degrees C

Prepare the Tsumeta: Place all ingredients (except the clarified butter) into a food processor and process until crumb like. Incorporated the clarified butter, by rubbing it in with fingers, through the Tsumeta.

Prepare the Alfonsino by removing any remaining scales and any blood or dark skin from the belly cavity of the fish with scissors or a sharp knife. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Score the fish to the bone (approx. 1 cm deep) with 3-4 slashes (depending on the size of the fish) into the thickest part of both sides of the fish. Brush both sides of the fish with vegetable olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Loosely fill the cavity with the Tsumeta (do not overfill as the Tsumeta will expand during cooking, causing the flesh to split). Close the cavity and secure with wooden toothpicks.

Select a shallow ovenproof tray that is large enough to contain the fish, line the tray with baking paper or pour in enough olive oil to thinly cover the base. Place the fish in the prepared dish and pour the white wine around it. Bake the whole fish in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish is cooked when tested at the thickest part – the flesh should be opaque.

Reheat the Kinoku Burosu.

Place the Alfonsino in the centre of a deep dish and ladle the Kinoko Burosu around the fish and top with the Organic Ponzu Salad and ENJOY!