Thursday 13 January 2011

A Fish in the hand

Yesterday whilst camped at Oatlands in central Tasmania an Inlands Fisheries Officer arrived to restock Lake Dulverton with 10,000 (yes, Ten Thousand) 20gram trout fingerlings - he had been to 3 other lakes including Lake Leake where I was camped last week.

He attached a large diameter hose to the tank and proceeded to pump the fingerlings into the lake.

Because this was his last stop he had to scoop the last few hundred out by hand and I was in luck as there were a number of Atlantic Salmon in the tank as well.

These salmon are enthusiastic jumpers and manage to get into the fingerling's tanks back at the New Norfolk base - the Fisheries Officer very kindly offered me 4 smaller fish and 1 large one.

Only problem was they weren't cleaned and I've never gutted a fish in my life!!!

A quick phone call to a friend and I was talked through the gutting process which turned out to be not as daunting as I'd expected - result 5 fish cleaned and gutted and 4 safely frozen for later use

What to do with the bigger one?  How about one of my favourite dishes - Gravlax (salt and sugar cured salmon) - first up the fish needed to be filleted - back to  internet where Huon Aquaculture site provided very clear directions on filleting a fish.

Here's the finished result - 2 nice fillets (okay they could have been cut nearer the bone, but not bad for my first attempt).

Next step was the curing - recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of salt, 2 of sugar, a teaspoon black pepper, chopped fresh dill and 1 tablespoon of alcohol (I used rice wine vinegar).  You spread all this on each fillet, then sandwich them together tail to tail and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Cover this sandwich with a heavy weight and refrigerate for 3 days - basting inside and out with the accumulated juices every 12 hours.

When the flesh has lost it's translucence slice thinly as you would smoked salmon - on the bias and without the skin - serve with rye bread or pumpernickel, sour cream and lemon wedges.

Stand by for how it turns out