Red Snapper Crudo with Ixta Belfrage
A couple of weeks back Charlie and I were lucky enough to have Ixta Belfrage (@ixtabelfrage on instagram) – a friend and super talented chef from Ottolenghi's test kitchen – come over and make us lunch.
First up was this super simple, super delicious red snapper crudo with walnuts and extra virgin olive oil, followed by fish soup (recipe to come). The idea is that you use the flesh of the fish for your crudo (an impressive looking dish which really couldn’t be simpler), and then use the head, bones, skin etc. as the base of the fish soup.
The key to these dishes is in the ingredients – get fresh fish from your local fishmonger, who can fillet it for you and give the bones and skin etc. to take home. You could pretty much use any fish you like for the crudo, just make sure that it’s fresh and sustainable.
For the crudo, Ixta toasted cumin & caraway seeds and infused these in some really good extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as well as pickling a whole bunch of saltbush from her mum's permaculture garden. Saltbush, as the name would suggest, is a really salty leaf which is quite thick so not only does it give an unexpected savoury kick, but it also has a great texture (samphire would work well in its place).
She also macerated (just a fancy way of saying softened in liquid) some red grapes in red wine, Arak, cinnamon, star anise and fennel seeds, but if you're short for time (or can’t be bothered to do this) Ixta suggests just serving with plain ol’ red grapes.
Serves 3-4 as a snack — Prep takes 15 minutes + a few hours for things to infuse
Ingredients for the cumin and caraway oil
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 tsp caraway seeds, toasted
1 small garlic clove, skin on and smashed with the back of your knife
Ingredients for the crudo
4 fillets red snapper, skin and pin bones removed
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated, plus the juice to serve
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated, plus the juice to serve
1/2 tbsp EVOO, plus more to serve
Small handful of walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a very small pan. Add the seeds, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least 3 hours.
Cut the snapper fillets into 2cm chunks. Mix in the zest, a good drizzle of EVOO and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Finish with a very small squeeze of lemon juice. You just want a little bit at this stage as you don’t want the fish to cook in the lemon juice. Set aside for at least an hour.
Serve the crudo on a sharing plate scattered with saltbush, walnuts and grapes. Drizzle over the caraway and cumin oil and finish with sea salt, black pepper and a generous squeeze of lemon juice and orange juice.
Products used in these shots are: Hasami Pearl stacking side plate. Vintage glass, not yet listed but online in the new year.