Grilled Pemba Bay Kob with a trio of flavoured butter


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Grilled Pemba Bay Kob with shaved papaya, radish & asparagus salad

You know those days at work when so much rains down on you, you simply don’t know where to begin? Well, I had a day like that on Friday last week; that is, until Ocean Mile’s social media team delivered one of the freshest and most handsome specimens of Dusky Kob, or Kabeljou, I have seen in ages.  My busy day suddenly ceased to exist, and I spent the remainder dreaming up ways in which to transform this gorgeous beastie into something completely scrumptious.

My recipe for this delightful fish is really simple, as I didn’t want to mask the delicate yet slightly gamey flavour. I chose three flavoured butters: saffron & lemon, black truffle & smoked salt, and a salsa verde butter which I thought really celebrated the fish.

The Concierge was my kitchen assistant for the day, and managed to capture and post some of the fish filleting action on Vine.

So, here’s what you’ll need:

Saffron & lemon butter

150g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/4 lemon

1-2 pinches of saffron threads, steeped in 15ml of hot water

pinch of sea salt flakes

Zest and juice the lemon and place in a bowl.  Steep the saffron threads in the hot water for about 5-8 minutes, so that they leach out some colour into the water.  Pour the water and the threads into the bowl with the lemon. Add in the softened butter and the salt and incorporate well. 

Black truffle & smoked salt butter

150g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

5ml smoked salt (find this at speciality food stores, or just use some sea salt flakes if you’re not keen on the smokey vibes)

Black truffles, shaved, to taste – this is dependant on how much truffle flavour you want, and also on your budget.  I used bottled black Italian summer truffles, and poured in a bit of the juice, too.

Place the softened butter in a bowl and stir the smoked salt in well.  Gently fold in the truffle shavings and any bits that may have broken off whilst shaving.  

Salsa Verde butter

150g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1/2 cup Italian parsley, washed and roughly chopped

4 anchovies

2 garlic cloves, peeled & roughly chopped

1 shallot or 3 spring onions, roughly chopped

5ml capers

1 green chilli, seeded

black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients except butter into a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and combine well with the softened butter.

To form the flavoured butters: Spoon out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper or onto plastic wrap and form into a log.  Roll evenly, ensuring no air pockets are left inside, and twists the ends of the paper/plastic.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, then remove and slice into rounds, discarding the paper/plastic.

To prepare the fish: Heat the grill in your oven. Cut the fillets into 150 – 200g portions and score the skin carefully. Place the fillets skin-side-up in a shallow baking dish.  Place a round of each flavoured butter on top of the fish and place under the grill for 8-10 minutes, watching that the skin does not burn.  If it begins to burn too early into the cooking time, move your dish down to a lower position in the oven.  The fish won’t take long at all to cook, and it’s better to slightly undercook your fish than to overcook it.  Remove and serve immediately.

I served the Kob with a shaved papaya, radish and asparagus salad dressed with chilli, lime juice & olive oil. Full of colour, textures and flavours which didn’t compete with the flavour of the fish or the butters.

AquaPemba is a fairly new marine aquaculture venture, located at Pemba Bay in northern Mozambique. The project, which is the first of its kind on the East African coast, aims to create a harmonious bond between fish, the environment and people by sustainably and ethically rearing this species of Dusky Kob.

The conditions at Pemba Bay are ideal for aquaculture – AquaPemba are the only operation in the bay with no major river systems around, save for a few small mangrove estuaries. The width of the mouth and tidal ranges mean that water movement is optimum for farming fish, and is vertically integrated with laboratories, hatcheries and rearing pens close by.  The company employs 50 local Mozambicans, with plans to expand operations in the near future.

The welfare and feeding regimes are based on best practices of the Loch Duart model – a sustainable and environmentally-responsible approach that defines a long term role for aquaculture as an essential part of our food supply chain for years to come.

It excites me to see a project like this growing at the rate it is, and I hope that this is a catalyst for similar start-ups in sustainable and ethical food supply in and around the African continent.

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