Ocean Trout, Toasted Barley, Nasturtium & Yoghurt

Recipe by Josh Niland

Josh has worked in the kitchens of Glass Brasserie, The Fat Duck, Est. Restaurant, The Woods Restaurant & Grain Bar and was head chef at Fish Face. He believes as a chef, that chefs provide nourishment and pleasure by cooking delicious food. His approach to food and cooking is to cook with humility, producing simple Australian food with the produce and guest in mind. Here he shares one of his recipes with us.

Preparation time: 60 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Skills needed: Medium
Serves: 4

Toasted Barley


250g pearl barley
1L water
1 bunch chives finely cut
1 lemon, zest and juice
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
Murray river pink Salt to taste


Add pearl barley to a large wide based pan, making sure that it is evenly spread across the bottom of the pan in one layer to ensure all the grains are individually toasted. Over a medium heat toast the grain until a deep even brown colour making sure not to burn it.

Once completely toasted add the water and gently simmer until tender, approximately 25 minutes. Once cooked the water that the barley has cooked in should have been all absorbed. Remove from heat, drain any residual liquid and add lemon juice, zest, olive oil and season to taste and mix together thoroughly.

Allow to cool. Just before serving add finely cut chives and adjust seasoning.

Nasturtium Pistou*
This recipe will last for 3 days if stored in the fridge. Serve warm


200g large washed & picked nasturtium leaves, If unavailable use flat leaf parsley
1L water
100g salt for cooking leaves
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Murray river pink salt to taste


Place a medium pot of water on high heat and bring to the boil. Add approximately 100g of salt to a litre of water for the blanching. Before adding the picked leaves to the water, prepare a bowl of iced water with a colander fitted inside for refreshing, so that the leaves don’t overcook and retain their green colour.

Blanch in boiling water for 20-30 seconds, remove immediately and add to iced water to cool.  Once completely cold, remove and ring dry the leaves in a tea towel or paper towel. Transfer to a chopping board and finely chop through the nasturtium. Add this to a mortar & pestle along with salt and black pepper to taste.

Begin to pound leaves, after a minute, start adding olive oil in a thin stream until fully incorporated. Adjust seasoning and set aside.

Yoghurt Sauce
This can be made 1hr prior to serving and is best disposed of 2-3hrs later


350g good quality, thick natural cow’s milk yoghurt
250ml water or fish stock if available
180g unsalted butter, cubed and cold
Murray river pink Salt to taste


Place a sieve lined with a clean chux cloth or muslin/cheesecloth over a bowl, and then add the yoghurt. This is commonly known as hanging.

Make sure that the cloth covers the top of the yoghurt and then cover with glad wrap and place in fridge. This process ideally would be done overnight, but in this case an hour or two will suffice with a firm weight such as a can of tinned tomatoes placed on top of the sieve forcing the whey out.

In a medium saucepan add the stock/water to the yoghurt and whisk until combined. This will be the consistency of pouring cream. When thoroughly combined, turn the stove on to a low to medium heat and begin whisking mixture until warm, around 40 degrees.

Start adding small cubes of the cold butter into the yoghurt, being sure that the yoghurt doesn’t get too hot. Continue whisking after each addition of butter as this will ensure the sauce doesn’t split or become grainy. Once all the butter is fully emulsified, season with salt.

Over a bowl with a plastic scraper push the mixture through a fine sieve to create a velvety consistency. Set aside somewhere warm and cover with cling film making sure that it is touching the mixture to avoid a skin forming.

When you are ready to cook the fish to serve your dish, warm up the yoghurt gently on a low heat being careful not to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.



12 small nasturtium leaves picked & washed. If unavailable use a few smaller parsley leaves
12 pickled nasturtium capers*. You can substitute with a small quantity of freshly grated horseradish to taste
4 wedges fennel, grilled
4 large grilled nasturtium leaves. If unavailable substitute with large spinach leaves.
4 tiny leeks, blanched. If unavailable use a large leek that has been quartered and sheets removed.
1L water
100g salt
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Murray river pink Salt to taste

For the vegetable garnishes start by placing a medium saucepan on a high heat with 1L water and 100g salt, bring to a boil.

For the fennel, cut the bulb into ¼ or ⅛ depending on the size. Blanch for approx 2-3mins or until tender. Set aside when cooked on a plate lined with paper towel.

Trim the ends of the leeks neatly and blanch in the same boiling water for approx 90 seconds. Transfer to the same plate as fennel and keep warm until plating.

To grill the fennel and large nasturtium leaves, brush each piece with a little olive oil and season with pink salt. Place a medium dry frypan on a high heat and grill the fennel cut side down for approx 2mins on each side until evenly golden brown. Transfer back to plate with leeks.

Place oiled nasturtium leaves into the hot pan and allow to become crispy and golden, approx 20 seconds. Keep all garnishes together on a plate and keep warm until putting the dish together.

Ocean Trout


1 side fresh ocean trout, pin boned and scaled (ask your local fishmonger to prepare the fish for you)
10g plain flour
80ml clarified butter*
Murray river pink Salt to taste preferred


Lay the trout on a board with the belly closest to you. Using a very sharp knife, remove the belly of the trout. With the loin of the trout remaining, cut 180-190g portions. Once they are cut, double-check each portion for any small pin bones.

To cook the trout, place 2 medium size non-stick fry pans on a medium heat. Dust the ocean trout fillets with a little flour to remove any surface moisture from the skin. Add clarified butter to both pans to just cover the base. Allow clarified butter to come up to temperature, then add trout fillets, 2 in each pan being sure that the fish aren’t touching.

Using a square of baking paper, cover the top of the fish and place a pan or saucepan on top to weigh the fish down. Cook the trout with the weight for approximately 5-6 minutes or until the top of the fish is slightly warm but still rare to the touch.

Spoon some of the hot clarified butter onto the top of the fillet. Then once you are happy with the crispness of the skin, turn the fish with a fish flip away from yourself, being sure not to splash yourself with the butter. After 10 seconds on the underside, remove to a wire rack on top of tray to catch drips and allow to rest for 2 minutes skin side up. Season the skin with Murray River pink salt and serve immediately.

To Assemble
Start by spooning the previously prepared warm yogurt sauce into the centre of the plate, spreading it evenly into a neat circle. Then on the right of that circle but still central to the plate, place your crisp trout fillet. At the top of the circle next to the fish, place the grilled wedge of fennel.

Spoon on nasturtium pistou in between fennel and fish.

For the barley vinaigrette, adjust seasoning then spoon some over the bottom left hand edge of the fish trailing off to the bottom left hand circle of sauce.

Drape leek over the fish, fennel and barley. Add crisp grilled nasturtium leaves as well as the smaller rounds of nasturtium. Wipe plates before serving.

Chefs tips
*The nasturtium capers are a small berry found on the nasturtium plant.

*Clarified butter can be made up to 3 weeks in advance by putting the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Melt gently. Skim off all the froth from the surface. You will then see a clear yellow layer on top of a milky layer. Carefully pour the clear fat into a bowl or jug, leaving the milky residue in the pan. Discard the milky residue or use as a substitute for buttermilk in some recipes. It can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks.

*Pistou is a condiment traditionally made from fresh basil, crushed with garlic and olive oil. you can substitute many fresh green leaves/herbs to make your own.

*You can use the belly of the trout for another dish such as sashimi, or salted for trout rillettes. The belly carries a lot of flavour, but is thin in comparison to the rest of the trout. So to eliminate the risk of overcooking this part remove it and make the most of it in another recipe.

*Weighing the fish down with a saucepan/pan when cooking will help the fish cook evenly and give you the best possible chance of an even crisp skin. Be mindful though that softer fish like ocean trout and salmon require a lighter weight as they can squash and spoil under a heavy saucepan or pot.

*When preparing any fish, try to avoid the use of any liquid or ice coming into contact with the flesh or skin as this will rapidly decrease the shelf life of the fish. Store between 1-3 degrees in the fridge and keep fish covered to avoid drying out.

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