If you've never had a fish collar, blackened by an open fire and eaten with your hands, we hope one day the experience comes to you. This experience is one that this fireside damper with smoked fish head brandade evokes. Created by Three Blue Ducks Co-Owner, Mark LaBrooy and Pips Plate Founder and Chef, Pip Sumbak, smoked fish heads (one of the cheapest yet best cuts in our opinion) come together with soft fresh bread to create a perfect bite for entertaining. See the full recipe, below.
• 100g smoked fish head meat - this can be collars, cheek meat or even belly meat if that's what you have
• 40g cooked potato - mashed potato level cooked
• 35g cream fraiche
• 1/4 bunch chives fine chop
• 1/4 bunch chervil fine chop
• 1/4 dill fine chop
• 1 lemon juice and zest
• season to taste
Mix until we’ll combined and serve at room temperature.
Spoon liberally over the fire pit damper
Fire pit damper
For best results, allow an overnight (12 hour) rest in the fridge. This will ensure a super crispy crust.
• 1kg 00 flour
• 1 heaped tsp salt
• 1 tbsp dried yeast
• Approx 700ml water
• 1 heaped tbsp honey
• 100ml milk
• 50ml olive oil plus extra to grease
Use a stand mixer with dough hook attachment or if you’re camping, a bowl and your hands will do the job just fine.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and yeast. Dissolve the honey and salt in the water with milk and oil. Gradually add this wet mix to the dry and mix with dough hook or your hands until a wet stretchy dough is achieved. If it’s too dry, add a little more water.
Cover the bottom and sides of a large bowl or container with some more olive oil. Pour in dough and cover tightly with cling wrap or a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8-12 hours. You can put this in your esky if camping. Note: this is a really wet dough and will expand.
Take the dough from the fridge and allow to come back to room temperature. Pour onto a floured wooden board or flat surface. Shape the bread into a boule (large ball) bring the sides into the middle to create structure in the loaf.
When you’re ready to bake, ensure your campfire has enough hot coal to surround your pot and cover the lid.
Flour the bottom of your large camp oven and place the dough ball in. Secure the lid and fit the pot snug on top of coals and surround the sides. Shovel coals onto the lid to create the perfect oven.
Timings will vary so take a peek at your damper after 30 mins. It usually takes around 45mins. If the loaf dislodges easily and sounds hollow when you tap the middle, it’s ready. Serve with plenty of butter and sweet or savoury toppings of your choice!
Don’t be afraid of burnt edges, they’re the best bit when smothered in plenty of butter and salt.
While we are currently in the depths of a bitterly cool winter, look forward to the warmer weather by planning your trip to the Caper Byron Bay Food and Culture Festival, held from November 10th – 13th.