Cured gurnard with camomile and cucumber water

Gurnard is a sustainable fish with a subtle flavour that is elevated by the camomile and aromatic oil; red mullet would also work well. You’ll have some oil left over; it’s great over pasta or eggs.

15 mins


2-3 hrs


20 mins


4 as a starter

Serving size


For the cured gurnard:
1 tbsp camomile tea (ie, from 2 teabags)
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp lime zest (ie, from 2 limes)
50g flaked sea salt
3-4 gurnard fillets, skinned and pin-boned

For the cucumber water:
1 small cucumber (about 200g)
1 tbsp camomile tea (ie, from 2 teabags) 
5g coriander leaves
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
½ small garlic clove, peeled
50ml lime juice (ie, from 3 limes)

For the aromatics:
60ml olive oil
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
½ green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into julienne strips
½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
5g coriander stalks, cut into 4cm lengths


  1. Blitz the first four ingredients for the cured fish in the small bowl of a food processor, then pour half the mixture into a container big enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Lay the fish on top, pour over the remaining cure, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for two to three hours.

  2. Meanwhile, make the cucumber water. Cut off and set aside a quarter of the cucumber. Roughly chop the rest and put in a blender with all the other ingredients and a teaspoon of flaked salt. Blitz on high speed for a minute, until the cucumber has broken down completely, then pass through a fine-mesh sieve, leaving a clear, green liquid; discard the pulp.

  3. Heat the oil for the aromatics in a medium pan on a medium flame, then gently fry the chillies, garlic, ginger and coriander seeds for five minutes, stirring every now and then, until the garlic is just starting to brown. Add the coriander stalks, fry for a minute or two more, until the garlic is a light golden brown and the chilli aromatic, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the solids to a plate and sprinkle with a little flaked salt. Reserve the oil.

  4. Lift the gurnard from its cure, rinse well, then pat dry. With a very sharp knife, cut the fish against the grain into 5mm-thick slices (a bit like sashimi).

  5. Cut the reserved cucumber in half and scoop out the watery centre. Finely cut the flesh into matchsticks, then divide between four shallow bowls. Pour over the cucumber water and top with slices of the gurnard. Pour a teaspoon of aromatic oil over each and finish with a scattering of the aromatics.