For me, there’s nothing quite like a piping hot cup of Rooibos tea. The sweet fragrant taste makes it one of my favourite teas, best enjoyed with two national heroes, a slice of Milk Tart or a few Eat Some Mores!(shortbread cookies)
National Rooibos day was celebrated on the 16th of January, and is the very first year of establishment. Rooibos is part of our diverse Fynbos kingdom and is native to the Cedarberg mountains in the Western Cape of South Africa. It has so many health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to preventing heart disease and strokes. This powerhouse is packed with flavonoids and antioxidants.
So in celebration of this week’s past national Rooibos day I wanted to share with you something that is truly a national treasure in South Africa. A while back I tried out a recipe of smoking Angelfish fillets with Rooibos tea leaves and judging from the success of it by how much my partner loves it, I knew I had to up my game and try an entire dish around Rooibos and maybe even trying it with a different type of fish. I had fun developing this recipe, all those Masterchef Australia episodes watching George plate up finally paid off! I’m not quite there yet, but there are a few techniques I am happy about.
Rooibos tea smoked Trout with a Buckwheat salad.
*2x roasting trays with rack.
*Pin Bone tweezers
-4 Rooibos tea bags(torn and bags discarded) or four tablespoons of Rooibos tea leaves
– 100g buckwheat(thoroughly rinsed)
– Half of an avocado
– Smoked sea salt to season (I used Maldon Smoked Sea Salt)
– Olive oil
– Sliced mini rosa/exotic tomatoes
– Pomegranate rubies
– 4 rainbow carrots(peeled using a vegetable peeler
– Mini cucumber (peeled using a vegetable peeler)
– 4 radishes finely sliced
– Microherbs to garnish.
Bring 500ml of water to a rapid boil in a large saucepan, add the rinsed Buckwheat to the boiling water and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes(keep stirring throughout) until all water has been absorbed. Take off the heat and leave aside to cool, once slightly cooled, using a fork separate the grains until a fluffy texture is obtained.
To prepare the trout, using a pin bone pair of tweezers, carefully feel along the fillet for bones and extract.(be patient and respectful of the ingredient, as you don’t want to be in too much of a hurry as to destroy the piece of fish)
Carefully peel back the skin of the trout , using a sharp knife to help with the process, season the skin and place between two baking trays lined with baking parchment both under and over the skin. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 10-15 minutes. Set aside until assembly.
Season the fillet with a pinch of smoked sea salt and rub a little olive oil on the trout and place on a wire rack.
Break open the Rooibos tea bags discarding the bags and add to the bottom of a roasting tray,taking a blowtorch, torch the tea leaves until smoking, be careful not to torch in one place for too long. Place the rack with the trout in the tray and cover with another tray to insulate the smoke. Lifting the lid every now and then to torch the leaves every few minutes until desired smokiness is achieved. Seeing this cool technique on Neill Anthony’s Private Chef show, I used the blowtorch again, I lightly torched the trout until light pink, for a few seconds. This gives the fish a little char and added texture.
Slice the radish, tomatoes, avocado and drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice. Clean and peel the carrots into thin strips, if you like my presentation, you could curl the carrot strips and place on top of the radish on the plate.Arrange and assemble as you like, I placed the buckwheat in the middle of the plate in a line and placed the trout on top of the buckwheat and place the crispy trout skin over the fillet or break into shards and scatter over plate. Season to taste and drizzle with olive oil.
*If you like, you cod make a simple dressing of a little olive oil, lemon juice, honey and mustard, just enough to dress the plate. I didn’t make a dressing as the buckwheat wasn’t dry to warrant it, also the avocado lends a creamy texture to the dish to counteract with the crispyness of the skin and smokiness of the fish.
*if you don’t own a blowtorch you could use your stove top to achieve the smoking of the trout, add the prepared roasting tray on two stove plates. And if you like, you could lightly sear the trout when smoking is done.
I had a lot of fun developing and shooting this recipe by only using what is in season as an inspiration for this dish. This was dinner last night, and what a sublime treat it was.
Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.
Happy weekend and happy feasting!