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London Gin-Cured Trout with Tonic & Lime Gel

From ‘The New City of London Cookbook’ by Peter Gladwin

Method

  1. Check the trout fillets are fully boned by running your finger along the flesh. Use a pair of tweezers to pin bone any that remain. Place the fillets as an even layer in a shallow dish.
  2. Blitz the juniper berries and star anise in a food processor into a fine powder. Mix the spices with the sugar, salt, gin and dill.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly over the fish, cover with clingfilm and leave to cure in the fridge for 12 hours.
  4. Prepare the tonic and lime gel using Indian tonic water and lime juice in place of water (see below), saving the lime zest for garnish.
  5. Split the cucumber lengthways, remove the seeds and slice into half moons. Dress with a little vinegar, sugar and salt. Leave for 20 minutes.
  6. Drain the juice off the cucumber, add the beetroot juice and pour over the shallots to lightly pickle.
  7. Wash the cure off the trout fillets under cold water. Carve into neat thin slices (approximately 3mm).
  8. Arrange the sliced trout on individual plates with the pickled cucumber and shallots.
  9. Pipe the tonic gel onto the plate and finish with caviar or roe and lime zest, and a sprinkle of pepper.
  10. Fruit gels can be used for sweet or savoury dishes – and they don’t melt on a hot plate. Rhubarb, redcurrant, cranberry or blackberry all work really well.
  11. Begin by making or buying a good-quality whole fruit unsweetened purée, not juice.
  12. Place the sugar and water in a small pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  13. Transfer to a measuring jug. Make sure you have 250ml of sugar syrup and allow to cool.
  14. Put the sugar syrup and fruit purée back in the pan and, using an electric hand whisk, beat in the agar-agar.
  15. Allow to stand for a couple of minutes then place over a low heat. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  16. Pour the mixture into a shallow tin and chill to set.
  17. Turn the set jelly out onto a chopping board and cut into cubes.
  18. Transfer to a liquidizer and blitz to make the gel. You may want to add a little water at this stage to achieve the desired consistency.
  19. The gel can now be used in a piping bag, squeezy bottle or just by the spoonful.
  20. Savoury gels are made just as above but without the sugar and are seasoned with salt, pepper or spices. A huge variety of vegetable gels are possible from your own vegetable purées – spinach, pumpkin and red pepper will give you a perfect set of traffic lights!