Puffed Cod Skin

Ingredients

  • 4 reserved Murray River cod skins
  • 100 g ( oz) fine sea salt
  • 2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) vegetable oil
  • fine sea salt
  • sansho pepper

Method

Clean the cod skins by scraping away any flesh from the underside of the skins, using a knife. Turn over the skins and scrape away any scales. Mix 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) of water and the salt in a container, and stir to dissolve. Rinse the skins through the salt water and then pat dry with paper towel.

Fold the skins in half, scale side out, and place in a medium vacuum bag. Mix the thyme, olive oil and black pepper together in a bowl and then add to the bag. Pour the oil mixture into the bag and seal in a chamber vacuum sealer on full to remove any air, and ensure that the cod is evenly coated.

Preheat a combi oven on steam to 65°C (150°F). Place the vacuum bags on a perforated tray and cook for 6–8 minutes or until the skins become slightly soft. Remove from the oven and leave the skins to cool in the bag.

Line two dehydrator trays with non-stick baking paper. Remove the skins from the vacuum bag and pat dry using paper towel, removing any excess herbs. Cut each skin in half, lengthways. Lay the skins flat on the trays, place in a food dehydrator and dehydrate for at least 12 hours at 57°C (135°F)— excess oil may seep from the skins while drying, so pat dry occasionally with paper towel.

To puff the skins, pour the vegetable oil into a deep heavy-based saucepan, no more than one-third full, then heat to 190°C (375°F). Carefully add the skins, one at a time, and fry until the skins puff. Remove the puffed skins with a sieve and place on paper towel to drain. Season the skins with salt and sansho pepper and set aside to dry in a warm place.

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