Sugar-Cured Kingfish with Mussel Vinaigrette
Classy number from some blokes called George Calombaris & Gary Mehigan - you've probably never heard of them.


Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main 2 star anise 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 1 teaspoon white peppercorns 55g table salt 55g caster sugar finely grated zest of 1 lemon 1 × 500 g kingfish fillet, skin-on, pin-boned olive oil, for cooking 1 tablespoon chervil leaves micro herbs to serve Mussel Vinaigrette 2 vine-ripened tomatoes boiling water 60 ml extra virgin olive oil 1 large shallot, finely chopped 2 sprigs thyme 1 small clove garlic, chopped 500g small black mussels (sold as cocktail mussels from Tasmania), bearded 2 tablespoons dry white wine squeeze of lemon juice


1. Crush the star anise with a mortar and pestle, then add the fennel seeds and peppercorns and pound lightly together. Reserve 1 teaspoon of this spice mixture. Mix the remainder in a small bowl with the salt, sugar and lemon zest. Sprinkle half of the salt and spice mixture over a stainless-steel, plastic or ceramic tray. Lay the kingfish on the tray and sprinkle the remaining mixture over the top. Cover with plastic film. Refrigerate for 6–8 hours. 2. Wash the salt mixture off the kingfish and pat dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel. Remove the skin and brown flesh from the fillet and thinly slice the kingfish neatly, then set aside. 3. For the mussel vinaigrette, cut a small cross on the base of each tomato, discard the cores and place the tomatoes in a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 10 seconds. Drain and rinse the tomatoes with cold water, then peel, halve and remove the seeds. Set aside. Heat a saucepan over high heat. Add a splash of the olive oil and throw in the shallot, thyme and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the mussels. Add the white wine, pop on a lid and cook for 2–3 minutes. When the mussels have opened, remove the pan from the heat and tip into a strainer over a bowl to collect the juice. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Return the juices (including the shallot and garlic) to the pan over high heat and reduce by half. 4. Remove half of the mussels from the shells, discarding the shells. Place the mussel meat and the mussels still in their shells in a small bowl, then add the shallot and garlic, discarding the thyme. Drench with the remaining olive oil, then add a little of the cooking juices and the lemon juice. Dice the tomato and add to the mussel mixture. 5. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Dust the kingfish fillets with a little of the reserved star anise, fennel and pepper mixture, then add a little olive oil to the pan. Sear the fillets quickly for 11⁄2 minutes on each side or until golden on the outside but rare in the centre; the kingfish is cured, so you do not need to cook it through. 6. Divide the kingfish between 2 plates and spoon the mussel vinaigrette over the top. Scatter with the chervil and micro herbs (if using) and serve. Recipe provided by: