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Fish Kofte
Roots

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Techniques

Fish butchery - Eyal will be showing us how to completely fillet, debone and skin a round fish, practicing transferable knife skills and some good zero waste habits.

Grilling - Learning how to prep a grill, and practice temperature control across hot and cold zones to achieve both charred results while cooking safely.

Fire roasting - understand the process of roasting directly in amongst the coals of your grill, using high heat and direct contact to imbue a deep aromatic flavour to your vegetables.

Ingredients
Serving Size
Serves: 2

Fish Kofte

  • 1kg sea bass or a white fish, freshly minced
  • 2 White onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch Spring onion, finely sliced
  • 2 bunches coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon peel, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 7g cumin
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Baba Ganoush

  • 3 whole aubergines
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 20g salt
  • 10g black pepper
  • 30g lemon juice
  • 30g olive oil
  • 20g raw tahini
  • 30g date syrup
Equipment
Utensils

1x large chopping board, 1x filleting knife, 1x sharp knife, 1x scissors, 1x large tray, 1x tablespoon, 2x large mixing bowls, 1x tongs, 1x charcoal bbq, 1x colander & bowl, 1x wooden spoon, 1x spatular, 1x pastry brush, 1x food processor, 1x sauce pan

Pre-Preparation

No pre-lesson preparation needed.

Cooking Method
Step 1

Ok guys, let's get it going with our fish kofte. With our fish I'm going to quickly run my knife over the skin to make sure all the scales have been removed and then we want to breakdown our fish. With scissors, remove the fins from the side and spine of the fish.

Let's start with the fish belly facing away from us and then we need to cut diagonally into the fish behind the head. Next, turn your knife and cut all the way down the spine of the fish. Cut down removing the fillet from the fish. Repeat on the other side to remove the second fillet. Have a quick clean down of your board and knife.

Now, we need to remove any bones and skin from our fillets and also the left over meat. With your sharp knife, cut under the bones of the belly cutting the excess away. With the trimmed fillet, let's remove the skin. Take your knife and cut an incision at the tail end of the fish and then laying your knife flat run your knife along the fish close to the skin, removing it completely. Next, with your cut along the side of the bones cutting all the way through the fillet giving you two pieces. Next cut the the other side of the bones removing them completely. Repeat on the other side.

Step 2

Now we've de-skinned the fish and removed the bones, let's quickly remove any excess meat from the fish. Use a spoon to scrape at any excess bits of flesh left on the bone and then using a small knife, remove the meat behind the head (again get in there with your spoon).

What I like to do now is cube the fillets up ready for our kofte. In long motions cut lengths of the fillet and then with them all lined up, cut across into a small dice.

Step 3

Bring around your fresh coriander, onions, lemon and spices. With a nice and thin motion, slice down your onion and then across cut into a dice. Place straight into your bowl and then move onto the spring onions. Take the woody stalky end and as fine as you can cut across to create moons and pour straight into your bowl. Now, cut all your coriander as finely as you can running your knife over the herbs in a rocking motion.

Take half of your lemon and then cube it really nice and finely. Cut it into strips and then cubes and add straight into the fish. Mix with a spoon your fish, lemon, coriander and onions and next we want to season it and add an egg and some cumin. Take a clean hand and mix everything together really well, giving it a nice mix and if you need to, add some bread crumbs. Mix really well and leave it to rest for an hour in the fridge.

Step 4

Take a tray lined with parchment paper and a bowl of water (this will keep our hands clean when shaping the kofte). Taking a handful of the mix with wet hands shape it into a ball and then with a cupped hand toss the kofte into an oval shape ready for the grill. Repeat across your kofte mix placing onto your tray. Now, let's step outside and get our grill ready (this is exactly the same lighting process) but check my steps below or ask me on the community how to do it!

Step 5

With your bbq lit and hot, take your aubergines and then cut 3 or 4 incisions into the flesh of the aubergines. Put the aubergines straight onto the coals and then we're going to leave them to cook. Put the cover on and then come back to them in 5 - 10 minutes.

Turn your aubergines over in the hot coals (we want all the skin to be shrivelled, charred and nice and tender). Keep moving them around looking for the hot spots of the bbq. What we are waiting for now is for it to be tender to the touch, remove from the bbq and into your colander leave it to drain and have a good time.

Like last week, move the hot coals so we have one hot section with more coals and a cold section. Now, let's bring the fish kofte and get ready to cook them. Cover your grill in some oil and then carefully place the kofte straight onto the grill in the hottest spot. Let the grill do all the work we want to touch is as little as possible.

Step 6

While our kofte begins to cook, grab one of the aubergines and then whilst holding the top, pinch and peel the skin all the way around, revealing the flesh. Place to one side whilst we turn our attention back to the kofte. Turn any of the koftes that move away from the grill easily, if anything sticks leave it be. The ones that have been flipped, leave to cook for a couple more minutes before we take it off the grill. Remove the koftes off the grill and leave to rest (they will continue to cook in their residual heat).

Let's move back inside to our kitchen to finish the dish.

Step 7

Like outside, let's peel our aubergine before putting it into our food processor. Make sure your mixer is set up with the blade attachment and then simply add your peeled aubergines, some fresh herbs, belazu tahini, olive oil and then a lemon and some garlic. Now, simply blitz it up into a paste. Pause the blender and have a taste for its seasoning (adjust accordingly).

Now, we should have our freshly cooked koftes off the grill, the baba ghanoush and our grilled aubergines. Take the juices from our rested aubergines and pour into a pan. Bring the liquid to the boil and along with a clove and some sugar heat it through and reduce ever so slightly.

Step 8

Split the aubergine like a book and lay flat onto your plate, with some tongs. Add the kofte on top and then drizzle your hot aubergine reduction onto the kofte, and garnish with your baba ghanoush, a wedge of lemon and some olive oil.

Finally lightly dot some of the date syrup and then enjoy.

Eyal Jagermann
's Notes

Step 1

I asked my fishmonger to descale and gut my fish.

I'm always working cleanly, keeping a cloth to wipe the board, my knife and the fish.

Please keep referring to the video at this filleting stage.

We want to just trim and remove any fatty parts or bones from the fillet.

If you have de-boning tweezers, pull the bones out of the fish feeling for each one as you go.

Feel along your fillet for any bones still remaining - you can either cut these out now or pull them out with your fingers.

Step 2

This is a great recipe to make sure you are using all the meat of the fish. Everything is going to be cut and minced for our kofte so we scrape and chop away at the bones to remove all the excess flesh.

We need to season our fish mixture when we need it - we can't do it in advance like our arayes last week because the acid from the lemon and the salt will begin to cure our fish, draw out the moisture and make it tough.

Step 3

The volume of herbs and onions in this recipe make this a kofte and it will give your dish texture that is more chunky than say a fish cake.

I love the lemon in this recipe, it works so well. Every so often you will get a bite of freshness and acidity that really lift the dish.

Lemons

Lemons, came to the middle east and Mediterranean around 100 CE. Lemons in the middle east were often a variety that is citron crossed with lime and pummelo. Lemons are valued for their acidity which is usually 5% of the juice.

Egg

The egg in this recipe adds a fattiness to the end dish and also it binds the kofte together beautifully. This comes from the proteins setting once it's cooked and holding everything together.

I noticed my kofte was a bit too wet so what I'm going to do is add a couple of tablespoons of bread crumbs and then mix this together. It will help bind our kofte further.

Step 4

Kofte Shaping

  1. With wet hands take a portion of the kofte mix into your hands.
  2. Press and shape into a ball.
  3. Next, shift the kofte into your dominant hand and with the palm of your hand roll the kofte into a cylindrical shape.
  4. Place to one side ready to grill.

BBQ lighting

What we want to do is create a nice dome with the charcoal, get it nice and hot and then move it around the grill to make two heating zones. So, first things first I'm going to place 4-5 lighters on the bottom and then pile the charcoal on top and then very simply light up our firelighters and then leave it to do its thing.

Step 5

By making some small cuts in the aubergine, we stop it from from bursting in the hot coals.

This way of cooking is so simple but so rewarding. It firstly will penetrate the flesh of the aubergine and give it a really smokey flavour and secondly it will give us really tender pieces of the aubergine that we can then blitz for our baba ghanoush (its also a healthy way of cooking as we don't need any oil).

When is the aubergine ready?

  • The skin is all blistered and shrivelled up.
  • The aubergine has reduced in size.
  • It should be incredibly tender to the touch.

I like to use half an onion to douse the grill in oil.

We have to cook our kofte very carefully, unlike our fatty arayes last week this dish has very little oils or fats so we need to cook our kofte delicately so we don't dry it out.

Step 6

Keep using your hand to feel the temperature of the grill.

When you go to turn your koftes, if they don't pull away from the grill easily, leave them to carry on cooking - the last thing we want to do is to break the kofte apart.

If you feel the koftes are colouring too deeply, move them to the colder part of the grill.

When pressing the kofte, they should feel firm but also feel that if they are pressed hard enough they will break.

Step 7

It doesn't matter if we leave some of the skin on the aubergine, it will just add extra smokey flavour into our baba ghanoush.

If you don't have a food processor, you can easily chop it all up and then mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Serve our aubergines straight onto the plate, cut open like a book.

The juices from the aubergine have so much flavour.

Step 8

Dates

These sweet and succulent fruits are grown in the Middle East and Africa. There are thousands of  different varieties but we usually only see 2 - 3 different types. Dates are moist and succulent when ripe and are sometimes up to 90% water (50% - 90%). Once dried dates are 20% moisture and 60% - 80% sugar.

Get Creative
  • Kofte - Go wild with your choice of fish. I also like to use salmon as it adds a slight fattiness to the dish. This also still works beautifully with our diced lemon and spring onion.
  • Hamusta - Go back to Tomers hamusta sauce, simply grill your fish kofte and then drop the cooked kofte's into that beautiful lemony soup.
  • Garnishes - We have lots of lovely baba ghanoush make some beautiful flat bread that you can mop up the lovely sauce with and also eat your kofte with.
Allergens
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Sesame
  • Always check the packaging as allergens may vary depending on the supplier.
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Eyal Jagermann
I think food is at its best when it’s fresh, simple...unpretentious. The most important thing? Ingredients - I am obsessed with quality.