Mon 25 Mar

Cheaper Seafood Species Swaps for Easter

Around the world, and in Australia, there is a misconception that seafood is an exorbitantly expensive protein. Of course, if you are choosing to purchase Bluefin Tuna sashimi, Rock Lobster, and premium Atlantic Salmon fillets regularly, seafood may start to hurt the back pocket a tad. But what many consumers don't know is that there are a huge variety of cheaper options available when it comes to Australian seafood. 

The enormous range of species harvested and sold in Australia means that there are endless options for substituting high-value products with similar-tasting species, if you know what to look for. 

We are here to help you learn the tricks of the trade, with a comprehensive list of cheaper seafood swaps to try this Easter. If you’re hosting this year, try reaching for a lesser-known species with similar eating qualities to your old favourites. Your wallet, your taste buds, and the local industry will thank you! 

P.S. Don’t forget that Sydney Fish Market offers extended trading hours (5am-5pm) on Good Friday. We’re also open from 7am-4pm every other day of the long weekend. See you there! 


Swap Atlantic Salmon for Sea Mullet 

Atlantic Salmon is, without a doubt, one of Australia's favourite fish to eat. With its rich, distinctive flavour, high oil content, edible skin, and medium-textured flesh, it ticks a lot of boxes for quick and nutritious weeknight meals.  

However, if you feel like you've done Salmon to death and want to expand your horizons this Easter, we recommend taking the seasonal Sea Mullet for a test drive! This fish, like Salmon, has high levels of fat and omega 3 oils, a strong, punchy flavour, and lends itself beautifully to crispy-skinned preparations.  


Swap Snapper for Bigeye Ocean Perch 

Snapper is a highly prized fish, and a favourite on Australian plates. A similar tasting fish that is underappreciated in comparison is the Bigeye Ocean Perch.  

This fish looks just as the name suggests, with big eyes, a large mouth and luscious reddish skin. It has a gorgeous white flesh with a delicate flavour and moist texture, which poaching or baking can enhance.  

Sub it for Snapper in any recipe – just keep in mind that it is slightly more delicate, so may need to be wrapped in foil or banana leaves if you’re using high heat cooking methods like barbecuing. 


Swap Tuna for Bonito or Blue Mackerel 

One of the most expensive and prized fish in the sea is, of course, tuna. A delicacy throughout the world, they are caught using only the most specific methods to ensure their flesh is nothing less than perfect. The two most expensive and revered types of tuna are Yellowfin and Bluefin, both of which are often served raw as sashimi.  

The good news for us is that tuna has a lot of delicious relatives. Both Bonito and Blue Mackerel are exceedingly good value in comparison and criminally underutilised in Australia. Their high oil content, punchy flavour and firm flesh make them the perfect sub for tuna in dishes like tataki and Nicoise salad. 


Swap Southern Calamari for Gould’s Squid 

Southern Calamari is a premium species, and is priced accordingly. At the other end of the cephalopod price spectrum sits the humble Gould's Squid. This species is ocean-caught in large numbers, often very close to Sydney, and as such is usually super fresh and much more affordable.  

Use Gould’s Squid in calamari rings, tossed on the barbecue, or baked in the oven with garlic and chilli – just make sure it's tenderised first (either by your fishmonger, or yourself). 


Swap King George Whiting for Eastern School Whiting  

Whiting are an excellent plate-sized fish to roast or barbecue whole, and are well-regarded for their delicate, sweet white flesh. The largest and most popular of the whiting family is the King George Whiting, but this fish also has many cheaper relatives! 

Eastern School Whiting has a delicate, sweet flavour, low oiliness and moist, medium-textured, flaky flesh with fine bones, which are easily removed. It’s also often caught locally, meaning this fish will be as fresh as it gets when it lands in your fishmonger. 


Bonus Tip: Swap the Cut!  

Another way to save when purchasing seafood is to choose a different size or cut of your favourite species. For example, a premium Atlantic Salmon fillet, de-boned by hand, is going to cost top dollar, whereas offcuts from the belly are far cheaper, and just as delicious! One of our favourite ways to cook Salmon belly is marinated in teriyaki sauce and skewered on the BBQ – the fat caramelises beautifully and turns it into a real delicacy.   

Another option to save a buck is to buy your fish whole. Whole fish are cheaper than fillets as you’re not paying for your fishmonger’s labour in preparing them. You don’t even have to fillet them yourself – just cook them whole by steaming, barbecuing in banana leaves, baking, or pan-frying! A whole fish makes for an impressive Easter centrepiece, and your guests can simply pull the meat from the bones with their knife and fork.