As we head into the warmer months, Alex Stollznow of Sydney Fish Market talks us through the best species to try this season. Whether you’re looking for great value or to get outside your cooking comfort zone, SFM has you covered this summer.
Australian Salmon are under-utilised and as such are a low-priced seafood option. This is a fish that responds particularly well to proper handling methods such as brain spiking, bleeding, and placing in an ice slurry as quickly as possible. Good handling methods make for a clean, firm, meaty fillet that is excellent as crumbed fish pieces, minced in fish cakes barbequed, smoked, or even as sashimi.
If they are fresh and handled correctly Australian Salmon are moist and very enjoyable. They are also very high in Omega-3 fatty Acids.
Because of their strong flavour and oil content, Australian Salmon are popular smoked or canned. The smoky flavour and slight char imparted by barbecuing this fish is especially tasty. Strong accompanying flavours are recommended, such as the Mediterranean flavours of tomatoes, olives, vinegars, pickled vegetables and herbs.
While King prawns are Australia’s most popular prawns, their large size can also mean they are on the pricier side. However, a rule of thumb that you might not know is: the smaller the prawn, the sweeter the taste. Little School prawns are often deemed the sweetest of them all, and an added bonus of their petite size is that they are able to be used in a huge variety of ways.
Try popping them on the edge of a cocktail for a fancy touch, or – our favourite trick – ordering them deep-fried whole from one of the Sydney Fish Market retailers for an exciting new foodie experience.
Fun fact: School Prawns were only used as bait to catch Bream and Whiting until Asian immigrants showed Australia how good they could be if treated with a bit of love. Now School Prawns are more expensive than the fish they used to catch.
These estuarine cephalopods have mottled pinky-purple skin, long thin bodies, pointy side fins that run about half their body length, 8 shorter arms and 2 longer tentacles.
They are wild-caught in estuaries along the NSW coast, and tend to gather near the riverbed during the day, spreading out at night throughout the water and coming to the surface to feed. They are mainly caught by jigging (using lights to attract them to the water’s surface at night).
This tasty species works well being steamed, poached, deep-fried, pan-fried, stir-fried, baked, braised, grilled, barbecued, or raw (sashimi). To be tender, squid must be cooked very quickly over high heat or very slowly over low heat.
The flesh of the mantle, fins, arms and tentacles is suitable for a wide variety of preparations, whole tubes can be stuffed and baked, strips or rings can be dusted in seasoned flour and deep-fried or marinated and char-grilled or stir-fried. Bonus: The ink can be used to flavour and colour risotto or pasta (though Cuttlefish ink is traditionally used).
Although widely spread across Southern Ocean deep-seas, the fact that this fish can live up to 2km deep means that there’s still a lot to learn about it. What we do know is that the Oxeye Oreodory has an extremely protrusible mouth which allows it to feed on a variety of deep-sea prey, such as crustaceans and small cephalopods. This diet, coupled with their extremely cold ambient temperature, make for a particularly fatty, rich fillet, while maintaining a mild flavour.
Always sold as fillets (we freely admit that this fish, while adorable as a juvenile, is not classically handsome) of around 100 grams in weight, making them perfect as a single serve, best either deep-fried or grilled.
Available wild-caught and farmed, these marine crustaceans are closely related to Tropical Rock Lobsters. Found from the East coast of Australia all the way to WA, they shelter under rocks, on ledges and among coral to depths of 200m, although commonly 35-60m.
By far the most valuable commercial species in Australia (worth over half the value of total Australian finfish catch), they are caught mainly in pots and mostly exported live or frozen to Japan, Taiwan or China.
These are a premium species and as such deserve a thoughtful approach. Whatever you do, make sure that the Rocklobster is the star! Sashimi, in a salad, or in a pasta where the sauce is made by simmering and reducing the Rock Lobster shells and organs.
Our best tip for selecting a good specimen is to make sure that the shell is firm (this will indicate that the tail is full of meat).