5 Local Species to Throw on the BBQ This Long Weekend

Mon 27 Sep

The upcoming long weekend provides the perfect chance to get outside, enjoy the newly warm weather, and fire up the BBQ. Australian seafood (especially supply from fishing co-operatives up and down the coast of NSW) is abundant at this time of year, with species like King and School Prawns, Eastern Rock Lobster, Spanner Crab, Bream, Flathead, Tailor, and Mulloway being sent fresh to the Sydney Fish Market auction in huge quantities.

Not only does this local abundance often mean better bang for your buck, but it also means that by purchasing these seasonal species for your long weekend BBQ, you are supporting NSW fishing communities, who have had a tough go of it in the past few years.

To help you take advantage of this abundance in local supply, we have pulled together the ultimate list of tasty seafood recipes to try over the long weekend. Enjoy!

King Prawns

King Prawns are many Aussies’ favourite type of prawn – they have a rich flavour, low to medium oiliness, and moist flesh with a medium to firm texture. King Prawns are beginning to flow into Sydney Fish Market in the lead-up to the long weekend, arriving from fishing co-operatives in the Clarence River, Coffs Harbour, Nelson Bay, Macleay, and Ballina. 

While one of the best ways to enjoy this species is peeled at the table, with a squeeze of lemon and a cold beer close to hand, they can also be used in a huge range of recipes if you’re down to add a little something extra. 

For something simple, try livening them up with a fresh Mango and Chilli dipping sauce, or tossing them through a light but zingy Chilli, Cucumber, and Watercress salad.

If you’re planning on firing up the BBQ and soaking up the sun, try this gorgeous recipe for Barbecued Coriander and Pepper Prawns, or something a little different, like this one for Barbecued Chermoula Prawns with Chickpea Salad.


School Prawns

School Prawns were historically only used as bait, and enjoyed by a select few fishermen in the know, before migrants from Asia taught Australians how good they can be when treated with a bit of love! While larger varieties of prawn are more classically popular, one of our favourite little-known tips for prawns is that the smaller the prawn, the sweeter the taste – making little School Prawns the sweetest of them all! Much of Sydney Fish Market's supply of school prawns comes from the Wallis Lake and Newcastle fishing cooperatives.

School Prawns come in to Sydney Fish Market's auction from the Clarence River, Wallis Lake, Newcastle, and Hawkesbury co-operatives. 

They are far too small to make peeling a worthwhile exercise, so we recommend deep-frying them whole and topping them with chilli salt, like in this delicious recipe. Don’t let the legs and heads deter you – they crisp up so effectively with this cooking method that eating them is like eating crunchy potato chips.


Eastern Rock Lobster

On the more decadent end of seafood species is the Eastern Rock Lobster. Larger than their counterparts from Western Australia, these are supplied in abundance  by co-operatives at Wallis Lake, Coffs Harbour, Clarence River, and Nelson Bay, as well as by a range of independent local fishers.

The great thing about the size of Eastern Rock Lobsters is that one Lobster can easily feed a small crowd of 3-4 people. Try throwing them on the BBQ, seasoned by a delicious lemongrass paste, and pair them with a fresh cucumber and carrot salad. Another great way to enjoy Rock Lobster is tossed through a salad – it’s fresh, easy, and makes the expensive species go further so that everyone can enjoy a piece.


Spanner Crab

Crab is one of the sweetest meats in seafood, with a soft, moist texture that works beautifully with a variety of cooking methods. Around this time of year, Sydney Fish Market will see supply of these unique crabs from fishing co-operatives at Ballina, Evans Head, Wardell, and Coffs Harbour.

As Spanner Crabs are generally sold already cooked, to preserve the freshness and quality of their meat, the best way to enjoy them is by picking the meat, and tossing it through a dish without too much additional heating. Some examples of this are this delicious Crab and Green Mango Salad, or these Crab and Herb Sandwiches (perfect finger food for a BBQ or spring picnic). If you want to go all-out with a heartier dinner, try this recipe for Spaghetti with Crab, Lemon, and Chilli – it’s simple and easy to achieve when entertaining larger groups, while still being decadent and delicious.

Estuary Species (Tailor, Flathead, Bream, and Mulloway)

The word ‘estuary’ describes a wide range of coastal rivers, bays, lakes, inlets, and lagoons, meaning that some form of estuary fishing is a staple of almost all co-operatives up and down the NSW coast, with particularly strong supply coming from Wallis Lake, Clarence River, and Newcastle co-operatives. Most estuary fishing is small scale, utilising short nets or handlines, making it a really artisanal form of fishing. Giants in this category of seafood include species like Tailor, Flathead, Bream, and Mulloway.

Cooking a whole fish is a sure-fire way to impress your guests – it looks incredible on the table, and is relatively easy to cook and eat, as long as you’ve got access to a big oven or a BBQ. Bream is a great option for this cooking method… This recipe pairs it with Oregano, Lemon, and Chilli for a real flavour sensation. One way to keep whole fish or fillets moist when cooking with high heat is to wrap them in Banana Leaves – try Mulloway or Tailor using this cooking method for a cheap and delicious BBQ dish.

For a real Aussie classic, why not make your own fish and chips at home! Flathead is a classic fish for battering and frying, and sauces, such as tartare or mayonnaise, provide a delicious accompaniment, adding a contrasting moistness to the crisp fish.


Sydney Fish Market wishes you a happy long weekend, filled with delicious local seafood!