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Grapefruit-cured Red Gurnard and Buckwheat Rice by Nic Watt

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Nic Watt


Cook time: 30 minutes + 2 hours curing time

Serves: 2

Gurnard is one of my all-time favourite fish. It is totally under-rated. Yes, it’s bony, but once you have removed the bones the white flesh is sweet and fine. I served this beautiful fish to Her Majesty the Queen back in 2002. 


— 1 ruby grapefruit, skin on, sliced (reserve 2 segments for serving)

— zest of ½ an orange

— 1 cup bonito flakes

— 1 red chilli, sliced

— 2 tablespoons sliced ginger

— 125 ml (4 fl oz) mirin

— 375 ml (13 fl oz) ponzu vinegar

— 375 ml (13 fl oz) soy sauce

— 80 ml (2½ fl oz) yuzu juice

— 2 x 120 g red gurnard fillets, skin on, scaled and boned

— 1 carrot, cut into fine julienne

— 1 celery stalk, cut into fine julienne

— ½ sweet potato, cut into fine julienne



Buckwheat rice

— 1 cup cooked sushi rice (see page 206)

— 1 tablespoon buckwheat

— 1 tablespoon genmai cha tea leaves

— 1 toasted nori sheet


To make the marinade, combine the ruby grapefruit, orange zest, bonito flakes, red chilli, ginger, mirin, ponzu vinegar, soy sauce and yuzu juice in a medium-sized saucepan and heat but don’t boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once the marinade is cool, divide it into one-third and two-thirds portions. Place the gurnard fillets in two-thirds of the marinade and set aside for a minimum of 2 hours. Place the vegetables in one-third of the marinade and set aside until ready to build your dish.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cooked rice with the buckwheat and tea leaves. Fold the nori sheet in half to break it into 2 even sheets. Line both sheets with the buckwheat rice.

Heat the grill to hot.

Place the gurnard on an oven tray and grill until the skin is caramelised.

Place the gurnard on top of the rice. Finish by carefully placing a neat pile of marinated vegetables to the side of each piece of gurnard and add a grapefruit segment.