Despite their big eyes and thick lips, these wild-caught, marine fish are more similar in appearance to Bream than to other Emperors; their snout is less pointed and they have scales on their cheeks. They are found mainly on the continental shelf especially around coral and rocky reefs, in tropical and subtropical waters to around 100m, and caught mainly off northern Australia by trawls and lines. All are marketed under the generic Seabream name.
Bigeye Bream; Big-eye Bream; Blue-lined Sea-bream; Collared Sea-bream; Coral Bream; Iodine Bream; Japanese Sea Bream; Naked-headed Sea-bream; Pale-faced Bream; Sand Snapper; Sea-Bream; Spotted Sea Bream; Swallowtail Sea-bream.
Available year round.
Size and Weight
Average 800g-2.4kg and 30-55cm, but can grow to over 5kg and 80cm.
Grass, Longnose, Redspot, Redthroat and Spangled Emperors. 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.
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. Seabream can occasionally have a distinct aroma of iodine.
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 3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.
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.
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.
Other Emperors (including Grass, Longnose, Redspot, Redthroat and Spangled Emperors), Crimson, Goldband, Moses, Ruby, Saddletail, and Stripey Snappers, Green Jobfish, Hussar, Rosy Snapper, Mangrove Jack, Redfish, Red Emperor, Snapper, Striped Trumpeter.
Some species are imported from South East Asia, including from Indonesia.
Redthroat Emperor Fillets in Coconut Curry Sauce