Monday, December 2, 2013

Wild Hamachi Grilled Over Eucalyptus Coals

There is something therapeutic about walking under the large grove of eucalyptus by my house.  Long strips of bark peel away from the tree trunks, falling to the forest floor where they form a carpet of menthol scented debris.  The smell of the eucalyptus is invigorating, an icy sensation that opens your throat and nose and awakens your senses.  

The oil in eucalyptus, when consumed in large quantities, can be toxic.  Even though there is a long global history of eucalyptus being used for everything from medicinal tea, to marinating fish and fuel for grilling, America has not embraced its culinary merits.  The long green leaves, when steeped in hot water, release an aromatic steam reminiscent of mint and evergreen.  Smoldering pieces of wood and bark have a dried spice- cedar quality to them.

Tonight I brined wild Hamachi with citrus, guajillo chiles, fennel, fresh eucalyptus leaves and sea salt then flash grilled it over eucalyptus coals and smoking bark.  I paired the rare slices of Hamachi with pomegranate, spicy-pickled cucumbers and castelveltrano olives.

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