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Picture this: It’s a beautiful, warm summer day, you’ve planned a gathering of friends and family to enjoy some drinks and good food. The entertaining area is sun-dappled, the table is set nicely without being too fussy, and you’ve got the perfect menu planned so that you can enjoy hosting and not be chained to a hot stove.
The star of the show (besides you) is this low effort, maximum impact cured kingfish. The Japanese-inspired flavours are delicate but satisfyingly savoury, and when combined with the right side dishes, this kingfish is the perfect protein for a light summer menu. Simplicity meets sophistication.
FOR THE CURED KINGFISH
FOR THE PONZU DRESSING
FOR THE CRISPY FISH SKIN
To make the curing mix, combine the sugar, salt, wakame flakes, sake and grated ginger in a bowl, mixing until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
Place half the curing mixture in a large, shallow non-reactive dish (stainless steel, ceramic, glass, enamel), lay the side of kingfish on top, then pour over the remaining curing mix. Cover the fish with a layer of plastic wrap, then place another slightly smaller dish filled with canned goods or fermentation weights on top, making sure the weight is evenly distributed. This helps the cure work its way through the fish. Refrigerate for a minimum of 3-4 hours or overnight (if you prefer a firmer result). Remove fish from the fridge and rinse off the curing mixture, then pat dry with paper towel. Wrap the fish well in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until needed – up to 2 days.
To make the crispy fish skin, place the reserved kingfish skin in a pot of gently boiling water. Simmer for 3 minutes, remove from water, and pat dry with paper towel. Lay the blanched skin flat on a cutting board and, working from 'head to tail', cut the skin vertically into 1.5cm thick strips. Place the pieces of skin on a wire rack and leave to dry, uncovered in the fridge overnight. When close to serving time, in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add enough peanut oil to cover the bottom. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and add the fish skin pieces one at a time, being careful not to let them stick together. Fry until the pieces puff up and curl, but be careful not to burn as the colour of the skin is naturally dark. Remove with tongs or a metal slotted spoon and place on a wire rack set over a sheet pan to drain any excess oil. While hot, sprinkle Jimoto Umami Powder (or sea salt) on top to season. Serve in a bowl alongside the cured kingfish as you would crackling.
Make the ponzu dressing by whisking the rice vinegar, soy sauce, yuzu juice, sesame oil and sugar together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, use a very sharp knife to thinly slice the kingfish and arrange on a platter. Using a spoon, drizzle the ponzu over the kingfish to taste and top with the sliced spring onions, sesame seeds and coriander. Place any leftover ponzu in a jug and serve on the side.
To make this part of a full festive spread like we did: serve the cured kingfish with crisp butter lettuce cups, Japanese-style potato salad, quick-pickled cucumber and the crispy fish skin. Take a lettuce cup, pop in some fish, potato salad, pickled cucumber, drizzle on some extra ponzu and top with crumbled fish skin crackling.
45m prep | 15m cook
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