Pan-fried banded rock cod liver with pili pili and crispy scales

Pan-fried banded rock cod liver with pili pili and crispy scales

By
From
Marque
Serves
10
Photographer
Stuart Scott

This dish was devised as a way to utilise as much of the banded rock cod as possible. The banded rock cod or bar cod is found along the east coast of Australia from southern New South Wales to northern Queensland. It is a deepwater species that is caught at depths of 110 to 370 metres; it can grow up to the respectable size of 1.6 metres. It’s a beautiful fish with a firm flesh that is still silky soft to eat once cooked right. Unfortunately, the banded rock cod’s liver is not sold separately, but either comes with the fish or not. Some fish livers aren’t very fatty or large – it depends on how well fed the fish is. On occasions though they can get to grow into a beautiful fish version of foie gras. This dish utilises the fish’s scales, skin and liver, uses the bones for a superior stock, and, of course, the flesh is a dish in itself. Given that there is one liver per fish I save it for the most deserving person.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Descale 1 whole banded rock cod into a large plastic bag, reserving the scales until required. Gut the fish, being careful not to pierce or damage the liver. Disconnect the liver then soak it in water for 6 hours to draw some of the blood out of it. Replace the water with fresh water twice during that time.
  2. To make the pili pili sauce, fillet the fish and remove the skin. Put the skin in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Add 1 crushed garlic clove, ½ fresh bay leaf and 1 finely sliced shallot. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, skimming occasionally. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan and reduce to taste. Add 0.2 per cent xanthan gum by volume and use a wand blender to disperse it into the sauce. Using a wand blender, add a thin steady stream of extra virgin olive oil until you have a thick, glossy emulsion. Season to taste with Murray River pink salt, freshly ground white pepper and lemon juice.
  3. Collect the fish scales from the bag and rinse them under running water for a few minutes. Bring to the boil in lightly salted water and strain off . Start over in fresh water and bring to a new boil, season lightly with salt and let the scales braise slowly for up to 2 hours, or until softened. Strain well, then spread the scales on a dehydrator tray and dry them in a food dehydrator at 65°C for 2 hours, or until dried and crisp.
  4. Flash-fry the dry scales in canola oil heated to 200°C, then drain them on a paper-lined tray. Th e scales will curl up and colour slightly; season lightly with salt. Keep dry until serving.
  5. Lift the liver out of the soaking water and rinse it. Pat dry and heat up lightly in a combi steam oven at 55°C for 5 minutes. Take the warm liver out and pat it dry again, season with Murray River pink salt and freshly ground white pepper. Pan-fry in a non-stick frying pan until golden. Finish by spooning over a little foaming butter.
  6. To serve, slice a good tranche per serve and plate simply with a spoon of pili pili and garnish with the crisp scales.
Tags:
Marque
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Pei
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