Swordfish bacon and egg English muffin
This muffin is a frequent item on the weekend lunch menu of my Australian restaurant Saint Peter. If you didn’t know what you were eating, I believe it would go toe to toe with a pig-based bacon and egg muffin. Interpretations of this muffin with our fish sausage are also excellent – and our smoked eel hash brown is a killer addition to eat with this brunch favourite.
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60g (2 oz) ghee
200g (7 oz) finely sliced smoked
tomato sauce (ketchup)
freshly cracked black pepper
500g (1lb 2 oz/31/3 cups) baker’s or strong bread flour
8g (1/3 oz) salt
300 ml (10 fl oz) milk
30g (1 oz) soft butter
6g (just under 2 tsps) fast-action dried yeast
plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
fine semolina, for dusting
120g (41/2 oz) ghee, for cooking
For the muffins, combine all the ingredients except the plain flour, fine semolina and ghee in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and mix on low-medium speed for about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a ball. Place the ball in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in the fridge overnight until doubled in size.
The next day, roll the dough out on a work surface dusted with semolina to a thickness of 1.5 cm (1/2 in). Using a conventional egg ring, cut out circles.
Cover and leave to prove on the work surface for 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 150C (300F). Heat a frying pan, add a little of ghee and cook the muffins, in batches and adding more ghee as you go, for 2 minutes until they are a nice colour on both sides. Transfer to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until done.
Increase the oven temperature to 180C (350F). Heat half the ghee in an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and fry the bacon for 4 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove and keep warm.
In the same pan, add the remaining ghee and fry the eggs inside four egg rings for 1 minute, or until the base of the egg is golden and crisp. Transfer to the oven for 1 minute.
Spoon some tomato sauce on a toasted muffin base then top with a generous amount of crisp bacon followed by the fried egg and a little black pepper. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce on the inside of the muffin lid, then place on top of the egg and serve.
Fish sausage roll
The public school I attended in East Maitland had a memorable sausage roll, and one that I can remember had just the right amount of seasoning, fat and crispness from the pastry. I’m not 100 per cent sure of what was in it, but I wanted to try to replicate it by producing this version with fish. In the restaurant we serve this with a tomato sauce made from native bush tomato, but it’s delicious with anything.
4 square sheets puff pastry plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
375g (13 oz) ocean trout or sea trout belly
75g (2¾ oz) fresh scallop meat
500g (1 lb 2 oz) white fish, such as bream, flathead or whiting
1 onion, grated on a box grater
1 tbsp salt
13/4 tsps ground white pepper
13/4 tsps ground fennel seeds
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
15 g (½ oz/½ cup) chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
sea salt flakes
Before starting, chill all the parts of a food processor capable of blending fish to a puree. Have a bowl of ice ready. Once the food processor is chilled, blend the trout, scallop meat and white fish separately into smooth pastes.
Combine the fish purees together and season with all the remaining ingredients. Keep this fish puree chilled over the bowl of ice. Mix all the egg wash ingredients together in a bowl.
Arrange the puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured work surface and arrange large spoonfuls of the fish mix on the pastry in the shape of a log. Using egg wash, brush the surrounding pastry liberally, then roll into the shape of a sausage roll. Either fold up the ends of the pastry to seal or cut to expose the ends. Brush the sausage roll with egg wash and chill for 30 minutes until set.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Brush the sausage roll with more egg wash, then season with sea salt and bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling, when checked with a skewer, is hot to the touch. Serve with a generous spoonful of ketchup.
Alternative fish: Arctic char, hake or salmon
Striped trumpeter, pine mushrooms, parsley and garlic
Striped trumpeter is in my top three eating fish in the world as it is the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Because of this, you can push it in a sweet direction in terms of garnish choice, for example, through the use of peas, fennel or aromatic leaves and herbs. Alternatively, you can take it the other way and use more earthy savoury ingredients, such as salsify, artichokes, beetroot or indeed mushrooms, as in this dish here.
200g (7 oz) garlic cloves
50g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
150g (5½ oz) salted butter
½ teaspoon native thyme or lemon thyme leaves
150 ml (5 fl oz) water
220g (8 oz) ghee
300g (10½ oz) pine mushrooms, chanterelles or field mushrooms, gills scraped out and cut into thick slices
100 ml (3½ fl oz) brown fish stock
sea salt flakes and freshly cracked
juice of ½ lemon
1 bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley,
4 x 180 g (6½ oz) boneless striped trumpeter, cod, bream, snapper or gurnard fillets, skin on
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Bring the garlic, sugar, 50 g (1¾ oz) of the butter, the thyme and water to the boil in an ovenproof frying pan and boil for 4 minutes. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated, the garlic is tender and it is starting to take on colour.
Return the pan to the stove and cook over a medium heat for a further 5 minutes. The garlic should be soft, sticky and sweet. Set aside. Heat 120 g (4½ oz/½ cup) of the ghee in a large frying pan over a high heat.
Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt and sauté for 2 minutes until coloured and beginning to soften. Add your desired amount of caramelised garlic, the stock and the remaining butter, bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced down to a thick glaze.
Taste and adjust with more salt, lemon juice, parsley and pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Spoon the mushrooms and sauce onto four warmed serving plates and keep warm.
To cook the fish, heat a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over a high heat. Add 60 g (2 oz/¼ cup) of the ghee and wait until there is a light haze. Add two fillets, making sure they are not touching one another and position a fish weight on top of the thickest side of the fillets. When you see colour around the edges of the fillet, about 1 minute, reposition the fillets in another part of the pan. Position the weight in the centre of the pan covering most of the fillets. After 3 more minutes, remove the weight, discard the ghee and replenish with 40 g (1½ oz) of fresh ghee. If the fillets still seem cool to the touch, position the weight on top for a further 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness.
Once the fish is 75 per cent of the way set, the top of the fillets are warm and the skin is crisp, arrange on top of the hot mushrooms. Cook the remaining fillets. Season the fish skin with sea salt and serve.
Alternative fish: Hake, john dory and turbot
‘THE WHOLE FISH COOKBOOK: New ways to cook, eat and think’ by Josh Niland (Hardie Grant, £25.00) Photography: Rob Palmer