Burnt Vanilla Salt Crust Ocean Trout
Cook Time 50 minutes
2.5kg whole ocean trout – gutted
5kg table salt
Pinch sea salt
6 vanilla beans
Preheat oven to 200C.
To produce the burnt vanilla powder, start by adding the discarded vanilla beans to a small frypan and place over a medium-high heat. The objective is to heat the vanilla beans to induce its natural oils, then to get to a very high temperature so that the actual bean burns completely inside and out.
This will in turn give you a completely new flavour profile of vanilla, one that has a similar flavour to that of dark caramel, malt or bourbon. Once burnt, place in a mortar and pestle, and grind into a fine powder. Sieve if necessary.
Sprinkle sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper in the cavity of the ocean trout. Sprinkle burnt vanilla powder all over the outside of the fish.
On a large baking tray, spread a 2cm thick layer of table salt. Place the whole burnt vanilla powdered ocean trout on top of the salt, and pat a little water directly on the fish before covering it with the rest of the table salt. Sprinkle water over the salt; this will help to form the crust.
Bake the ocean trout for 30-40 minutes or until ocean trout reaches an internal temperature of 48C using a digital thermometer. Remove ocean trout and rest for 15 minutes.
Break the crust from the top of the fish (the skin will probably come off with it). Remove any remaining skin and discard.
To fillet the ocean trout, draw a line down the spine and remove the flesh in large chunks. Break the spine at the head and tail, and remove. Take the fillets from the second side.
Divide the fish among the serving plates (about 180g per serve).
If there is leftover trout, save it for a fantastic breakfast served with scrambled eggs, and enjoy with a glass of champagne.