Story of a Plate with Rossouw's Restaurants
“Yes, it is an unusual dish, and the reason we went for the guava is because that trout is so unique; it's got both a strong smokey flavour, and also quite a bit of saltiness from the smoking process. We don’t smoke it in-house, because we can't beat the quality of Wayfarer (which is extremely well known for their way of smoking; they are artisanal smokers, with an underground tunnel that actually feeds into their smoker, and their curing process is quite special as well). So with that trout – and especially the wine we served with it [the 2010 Jacques Bruére Blanc de Blanc] - we were relying on all those other elements to make that guava work.
There was also a bit of dashi-style broth which had fruity undertones to it from being infused with the the seeds and the peelings from the guava, enhancing the “usual” dashi broth flavours of bonito flakes, seaweed, and kombu. The guava infusion added a lovely roundness to the broth which worked well to offset the saltiness of the fish.
Part of the thinking behind that dish is actually that guava and pork work so well…. Smoked trout for me is almost like the bacon of fish, in terms of getting that skin nice and crispy, with beautiful saltiness and smoke. Guava works because it's not too acidic, nor too sweet, but a lovely counterpoint to the slight fattiness of an oily fish. We served the guava underneath the fish, grilled and still warm, which also helps to temper those strong fruit flavours“.
Read on to find out about the other components of the dish, and what it's like to work in a kitchen that creates an entirely new tasting menu every evening.