Persian spiced ocean trout

September 5, 2017

Words: Camellia Aebischer

Pictures: Andrè Castellucci

Styling: Lauren Bezzina

You should never leave home without a palette knife, according to Quentin Whittle – head chef at Stone’s Throw on Norwood’s Parade. His examples of the tool’s use outside the kitchen reach all the way to stirring a macchiato but – on the public BBQ – the knife’s job is simple: flipping a piece of crispy trout skin. 

The crunchy, salty skin is destined for a fresh pita, where it adds texture to a bundle of herbs, spiced grilled trout flesh, and yoghurt dressing that are huddled alongside it.

Quentin Whittle

This dish isn’t a menu item at Stone’s Throw, so it can only be enjoyed park-side instead of in the lush dining room of the Norwood restaurant.

But long before he was planning menus at Stone’s Throw, Quentin began his career in restaurants at the Novotel in the Barossa Valley.

“I hated it,” he says.

“So I went and finished my apprenticeship at Bar Vinum, serving really local, seasonal produce. That was a really cool restaurant back in those days. It’s since shut. But that’s where it all started and I really got in to cooking.”

After a year as a sous chef at Bar Vinum, he ventured in to the city to work at the Melting Pot, before jetting off to Canada.

“I went to work in a Moroccan French restaurant,” says Quentin. “That was an awesome experience incorporating spice in to French cuisine. That has definitely made a big influence on the style and things I like to cook.

“It was a really unpretentious restaurant and I really liked that. It resonated with me after all the fine dining stuff and the cramped style of overworking cuisine.”

After arriving back in Adelaide, the need for culinary freedom stuck with him.

“I went back to fine dining again. I was at Magill Estate, Ridgemill Estate, and took a head chef job at George’s for a while,” says Quentin.

“Once again, I kind of got sick of the fine dining and took over a café in Colonel Light Gardens called The Stranded Store. That was a really good way to figure out what I wanted and to just break down the style and make really simple food.”

Remarks

You can find Quentin in the kitchen at
Stone’s Throw – 127 The Parade, Norwood

In July, The Bloody Mary Group (which own Stone’s Throw) opened a butcher in Dulwich’s main hub. The shop not only supplies the public, but also the restaurant, which has opened up a whole world of options – giving Quentin freedom and at the same time control (over where the meat is produced) for the restaurant.

“It’s teaching me so much about butchery and types of cuts, how to value add, and reduce waste,” said Quentin.

The connection to produce extends further than meat for the restaurant – Quentin and his team are careful to source their produce from local suppliers.

And that endless inspiration sits perfectly hand in hand with Quentin’s main aim as a chef.

“In all seriousness. We want to cook for the people,” he says. “We want people to be interested in what we’re doing, excited and challenged.”

“The thing is with South Australian seasonality and produce it’s not just big seasons. There are such small pockets of produce that run for a short amount of time,” says Quentin.

“We deal with farm gate in the Fleurieu and that’s where a lot of those pockets of produce come in. Lots of them will have a short run of say, purple caulis, and they’re only around for a week then – bang – they’re gone again.

“Using stuff like that, for me, is really what gets me out of bed and inspired and getting in t the kitchen.”

PERSIAN SPICED OCEAN TROUT ON THE PUBLIC BBQ

INGREDIENTS:

Ocean trout

  • 1.4kg/1 side of ocean trout – pin boned and skinned (skin reserved) 
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp sumac

Spice mix

  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp pink peppercorns

Salad

  • 100g pistachios
  • 50g barberries* – soaked in water for 30 mins then drained
  • 2 spanish onions
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2 long red chilli
  • 2 baby cos
  • 2 lebanese cucumber
  • *Find dried barberries at a Middle Eastern grocer or online. Dried cranberries are a sweeter substitute

Yoghurt + tahini dressing

  • 250ml greek yoghurt
  • 100g tahini paste
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed with salt

Things you might need

  • 2 packets flat bread (we suggest from the Adelaide Lebanese Bakery)
  • baking paper
  • mortar +pestle
  • small frying pan
  • grill scraper
  • chopping board
  • knife

Prep before the park:

Wash the cucumber, cos lettuce and all the herbs.
Mix yogurt + tahini dressing ingredients together.

At the park..

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  1. 1. Toast whole spices in a pan until fragrant or until they start to pop
  2. 2. Pummel your spices
  3. 3. Season the trout with salt and the spice mix.
  4. 4. Place the fish skin on the bbq, season with salt, and fry until crisp. This will give you a good indication on the BBQ’s heat and also leave all the lovely fish oil from the skin on the grill. When crisp remove and set aside.
  5. 5. Place the trout on the BBQ flat side down. Tip: add a piece of baking paper between the fish and the bbq to avoid sticking.

 

Cook the trout on one side until medium rare, so the middle portion of the meat is warm but still translucent.

Tip: You can shut the lid of the BBQ to finish off cooking.

On a platter arrange the herbs, cucumber, onion, chilli, and lettuce. Mix the barberries and pistachios then transfer to a bowl.

Plate up tahini yoghurt, lightly grilled flatbreads, side of trout, and broken up pieces of crispy trout skin.

Serve with cut lemons and sumac.

A note from the chef: This recipe is designed to be a casual DIY meal, where 6-8 of your mates can serve themselves, and also would be quite delicious as a salad without the flat bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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