Curing fish with salt and sugar is a process that's been around for thousands of years as a means of preservation. These days, it's not used much beyond making smoked salmon and lox, but it's actually a great way to infuse flavor and improve the texture of fish. For this dish, the curing process not only infuses the hamachi with the wonderful flavor of star anise and black pepper, it also reduces the moisture content of the hamachi, giving it a firm almost ham-like texture. The umami-rich cured hamachi pairs beautifully with sweet amaretto-infused persimmons and the salty slivers of shaved manchego.
- Put the star anise and black pepper in a spice grinder and grind until ground into a fine powder. Mix the spice powder with the sugar and salt.
- Cut a large piece of plastic wrap and lay on a work surface. Place the hamachi in the middle and sprinkle generously on all sides with the spice mixture. There should be enough on the fish that you can no longer see the fish(you probably won't need all of the rub). Dust off any excess rub and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped fish on a plate (to catch any juices), and place the hamachi in the refrigerator to cure for 2-3 days.
- The day before you plan to serve the hamachi, place the persimmons in a flat tray that barely fits them in a single layer. Drizzle just enough Amaretto on top to coat the bottom of the tray and then flip the persimmons over a few times to coat evenly. You can either cover and refrigerate these overnight, or put the tray in a chamber vacuum for 60 seconds to vacuum infuse them.
- To make the shaved Manchego, cut the rind off of a thin wedge of Manchego and then use a vegetable peeler to shave paper thin slices of cheese from the wedge.
- To serve, unwrap the hamachi and use a paper towel to brush off as much of the spice as you can (you don't have to get all of it). Use a very sharp knife to slice the cured hamachi as thinly as possible.
- Plate with the Amaretto infused persimmons and top with the shaved Manchego.
Category : Appetizer
Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : N/A
Passive time : 48 hours
- 2 pods star anise
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 200 grams hamachi
- 1 large fuyu persimmon, peeled and sliced into 16 wedges
- 100 grams Manchego cheese