Now that Spring is upon us, the days are getting longer, the nights warmer, and the ocean currents that bring warmer water south into NSW are picking up speed. For seafood lovers this means that a range of species come into their seasonal peak over the next few months.
We’ve put together a list of five species that typify the bounty that Spring provides, but as regular visitors to Sydney Fish Market can testify, these five species are merely a brief look at what we have available.
1: Grey Mackerel
Dwarfed in reputation by its more famous cousin, the Spanish Mackerel, this fish has long been a bread and butter species for recreational fishers in Northern Australia. Commercially, four distinct populations are targeted- spanning territory from WA to northern NSW, with the bulk caught via line, trawl and netting in QLD and the NT. As indicated by their narrow mouth with sharp, fine teeth, this fish predominantly feeds on baitfish. This imparts a rich oiliness to the thick fillets, which allows a greater variety of cooking methods. Try marinating cutlets and grilling directly on your barbeque or use large pieces in a vibrant curry.
2: Silver Trevally
The Silver Trevally are found almost everywhere in Southern Australia. They have a firm, clear flesh, that lends itself well to being used raw or acid-cured. They’re also an excellent species to practice making Sashimi with, all you need to do is buy the whole fish and break it down yourself. The fillets are easy to remove, and the rib bones are easily avoided, with the skin tough enough to qualify as ‘beginner level skinning’. Dice, marinate in soy and ginger, and serve over rice as an open Sushi bowl. Delicious!
3: Longfin Eel
If you’ve eaten eel in Australia, unfortunately, it probably wasn’t Australian. The vast majority is farmed and cooked overseas before being exported and served to customers . So if you’ve tried eel but didn’t love it, don’t abandon hope just yet. Australia is home to the Longfin Eel, and it’s absolutely stunning. The males of this species are capable of reaching lengths of over 1.7m and weights of over 22kg, with females smaller, but no matter what the size or gender, Longfin Eels possess one of the richest, most complex meats in seafood. Though there are many ways to enjoy Eels, the best methods are ones that work with this richness, such as barbequing or hot-smoking.
4: Goldband Snapper
The Goldband Snapper is one of tropical Australia’s tastiest fish. They are generally mid-sized, with small whole fish weighing about 1.5kg and larger fish well over 5kg. Smaller fish are often sold whole while the larger fish are usually filleted. Whole fish are particularly amenable to grilling or roasting whole, and fillets are best portioned and similarly cooked. Make sure to keep the skin on and season well before cooking, this way it will be crispy, delicious, and fought over.
5: School Whiting
Found in abundance on the East coast of Australia, the School Whiting is an uncommonly delicate and sweet fish. They’re small, pretty, and well-priced. School whiting are caught in large numbers by Sydney Fish Market’s local trawl fleet and sold at our auction every day that weather permits. These are particularly well suited to cooking whole - steamed, grilled, wrapped in foil and baked, or for something moreish, try cleaning (or asking your fishmonger to clean) whole fish, before breading Southern Fried Chicken style and deep-frying. Serve with wedges of lemon, pickles, and sides, make sure to cook more than you think you’ll eat!