Recipe: Yoghurt Baked Fish and Walnut Crumble

“This is one of my go-to celebratory dishes to make for friends and family during summer, a fish dish that is in high demand.

“The tangy marinade bathes the fish in a rich lustrous coating, giving maximum moisture during its cooking, resulting in flavours that are as luscious and seductive as they are light and aromatic.” –Christine Manfield

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 x 800gr snapper fillet, skin and bones removed, cut into 6 x 100gr portions (skin off)
1 large piece of aluminium foil (that will be ample to wrap the fish)
1 large piece of baking paper (same size as aluminium foil)
1 fennel bulb, shaved
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp shredded mint
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp The Essential Ingredient Extra Virgin Olive Oil
pinch sea salt

Yoghurt marinade
300gr sheep or goat milk yoghurt
1 tsp cornflour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 green onion (scallion), finely sliced
½ bunch chives, chopped
1 tbsp The Essential Ingredient Extra Virgin Olive Oil
juice of ½ lime
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Walnut crumble
40gr breadcrumbs – made from whole wheat sourdough (make these 2 days ahead)
30gr shelled walnuts, chopped
2 tsp chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped tarragon
1 tsp chopped dill
15gr unsalted butter

Herb pilaf
200gr basmati (long grain) rice
100gr unsalted butter
1 small white onion, peeled and finely diced
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp finely chopped fresh dill
3 green onions, finely sliced
450ml white chicken stock, warmed to simmering point
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped basil leaves
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp fried shallot slices

Method:

To make the crumble, mix all the ingredients together in bowl, rubbing butter through till crumbs are moist. Spread onto baking tray and bake in 180ºC oven for 6 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside until ready to use.

To make the yoghurt marinade, mix all ingredients together in shallow tray. Add the fish and submerge into the marinade and leave for 5 minutes.

To make the pilaf, soak the rice grains in cold water for 1 hour, changing water twice then rinse until water runs clear.

Melt butter in wide braising pan and fry the onion and spices until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in the green onions then add the drained rice and stir until rice is coated with the onion spice mix. Add the warmed stock all at once and stir to circulate rice. Season with salt and pepper.

When the stock starts to bubble, cover with a lid, reduce heat to lowest setting and leave to cook for 15 mins, until rice has absorbed all the liquid and the grains are soft and elongated.

Take off heat, remove lid and stir through the chopped herbs and fried shallots. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, the rice may require a little extra salt.

To bake the fish, lay the alfoil on bench and lay the sheet of baking paper on top. Place the fish and its marinade onto centre of paper and wrap up and secure, folding in the two ends first then bringing the longer sides up to overlap over the fish. Then repeat the same steps with the alfoil to secure but don’t wrap it too tightly, the fish needs some breathing space for the heat to penetrate properly.

Bake in 200ºC oven for 25 mins or until fish is just cooked through (this will depend on the thickness and density of the fillet). Test with a sharp knife point in the thickest part of the fillet. If baking individual portions, allow 15 minutes cooking time.

Remove from oven and unwrap the fish and cover top surface of the fish with toasted walnut crumble.

Toss the shaved fennel, red onion and mix in bowl with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Scatter the fennel salad onto large serving plate and carefully transfer the fish to sit on top of the fennel salad.

Serve with the herb pilaf.