Species Groups

Learn about the following species groups (including their most common members, as well as purchasing, storage and cooking information), or select a specific species from the species list on the right.

More Species Groups 

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Grass Emperor
Lethrinus laticaudis
 
Longnose Emperor
Lethrinus olivaceus
 
Redspot Emperor
Lethrinus lentjan
 
Redthroat Emperor
Lethrinus miniatus
 
Seabream
Gymnocranius griseus (Grey Seabream)
Gymnocranius grandoculis (Robinson's Seabream)
Gymnocranius elongates (Swallowtail Seabream)
Gymnocranius audleyi (Collar Seabream)
Gnathodentex aureolineatus (Goldspot Seabream)
Gymnocranius euanus (Paddletail Seabream)
Monotaxis grandoculis (Bigeye Seabream)
Gymnocranius microdon (Bluespotted Seabream)
Wattsia mossambica (Mozambique Seabream)
 
Spangled Emperor
Lethrinus nebulosus (Greater Spangled Emperor)
Lethrinus sp. (Lesser Spangled Emperor)
 
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Spangled Emperor

Lethrinus nebulosus (Greater Spangled Emperor)
Lethrinus sp. (Lesser Spangled Emperor)

Other names:

Blue-lined emperor, blueline emperor, blue-spotted emperor, nor-west snapper, north west snapper, sand snapper, tricky snapper, yellow sweetlip.

Family:

Lethrinidae (emperors).

Description:

With distinctive pointed snouts, big eyes and thick lips, these wild-caught, marine fish are found mainly on the continental shelf especially around coral reefs and lagoons as well as inshore reefs and beaches, in tropical and subtropical waters to around 150m, and caught mainly off northern Australia by trawls, traps and lines. Both species have yellowish skin with pale blue markings; the greater has pronounced blue lines on the face, whereas the lesser has less defined bluish-brown spots and streaks. The largest and most sought after of the emperor family.

Season:

Available year round.

Size and Weight:

Average 800g-4kg and 30-60cm, but can grow to over 10kg and 93cm.

Price:

Medium priced.

Relations:

Grass, longnose, redspot and redthroat emperors and seabream. Also seaperches (including crimson, goldband, moses, ruby, saddletail and stripey snappers, and green jobfish, hussar, rosy snapper, mangrove jack, red emperor and ruby snapper), which have less pointed snouts and the cheek scales that emperors lack.

To Buy:

Sold whole (gilled and gutted) and in fillet form. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for yellowish-white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Lay whole fish or fillets, in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 40%. Has a mild, slightly sweet flavour, low oiliness and moist, firm flesh with large flakes and few bones, which are easily removed. The thick skin is usually removed. The bones make excellent stock. Score large whole fish at the thickest part of the flesh and cut thick fillets into serving-size portions to allow even heat penetration.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue. A good fish to cook whole, either plate-sized or larger to feed a group, the firm flesh lifts easily from the bones when cooked. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs.

Goes well with:

Chilli, chives, coconut milk, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, green onions, lemongrass, mirin, shallots, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce.

Alternatives:

Other emperors (including grass, longnose, redspot and redthroat emperors and seabream), coral trout, crimson, goldband, moses, ruby, saddletail and stripey snapper, green jobfish, hussar, rosy snapper, mangrove jack, redfish, red emperor, snapper, striped trumpeter.

Imports:

Chilled whole emperors are imported from the Pacific Islands, and frozen fillets from Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Recipes:

Redthroat Emperor Fillets in Coconut Curry Sauce >