Years in the making, the Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook is destined to become the home cook’s bible for preparing & cooking Australian seafood.
The Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook (Murdoch Books) might have been written just for me. I’m among those mentioned in the introduction – those who “might buy salmon or ling once a fortnight and cook the same old recipe”. I know that fish is a healthy protein, I know that we have thousands of marine species in our waters and I know that our fisheries are some of the most sustainable in the world. What I lack is the knowledge to prepare and cook fresh seafood with any degree of confidence – or, indeed, competence.
Well, this book is about to change that for me and all those in the same boat as me (ooh, see what I did there 😉 ).
The Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook is compiled by four of the most respected authorities on seafood in Australia and I totally agree with Neil Perry who calls it, “The bible for seafood. The only book you’ll ever need on the topic.”
While many of us love the experience of eating beautifully cooked seafood when dining out, the authors want to change the way Australians feel about preparing and cooking seafood at home. John Susman, Anthony Huckstep, Stephen Hodges and Sarah Swan have spent years putting this magnificent tome together. Their combined preeminent skills as seafood providores, chefs and writers provide everything you need to know about selecting and preparing over 60 different types of fish and seafood.
This beautifully photographed and clearly set out cookbook presents A-Z guides for both fish and, separately, for shellfish. Each entry includes an introduction to the species and where in Australian waters it is found, along with information on it’s seasonality, catching methods, common length and weight, identifiable features and – most importantly – sustainability. Individual sections then explain how best to handle the fish, best cooking methods and suggestions for substitutes before presenting beautifully photographed, fresh and tempting recipes. There are also comprehensive illustrated explanations on scaling, filleting, shucking, shelling and cleaning all sorts of seafood
I’m a lazy cook and like recipes that offer quite a lot of flavour bang for minimal effort. There’s not one dish in this book that I’d be reluctant to tackle – and I think that is a strong point of the Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook. It clearly shows the home cook just how delicious our fresh seafood is and how simple it can be to produce show-stoppers without any kitchen dramas.
Try this recipe for Barramundi with crushed peas and sour cream. It is a perfect example of just how simple it can be to get a delicious, fresh dish of Australian seafood on your table. The Bloke is especially fond of fish. He’s going to be very happy with this new addition to my cookbook collection.
Barramundi with crushed peas and sour cream
- 4 × 200 g 7 oz barramundi fillets, skin on, pin-boned
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- 80 ml 2½ fl oz/⅓ cup ghee (see note)
- Crushed Peas page 459
- 85 g 3 oz/⅓ cup sour cream
- sea salt to taste
- lemon oil to serve
- To prepare the barramundi fillets for pan-frying with crisp skin, lay them on a work surface and dust the skin sides with the rice flour. Place each fillet, flesh side down, on a sheet of baking paper large enough to cover the fillet.
- Heat a large cast-iron or heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat (or two smaller pans – it’s essential that the fish is not overcrowded in the pan; see note) and add the ghee. When the pan is hot and the ghee translucent, place the fillets in the pan, skin side down, leaving the paper on the flesh side. Place a 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) weight – such as a heavy pot or another pan – on top of the fillets and cook for 4 minutes, lifting the weight once or twice then moving the fillets gently around the pan so they don’t burn. Reduce the heat to low. Remove the weight and the paper, then, using a spatula, gently flip each fillet to quickly seal the other side. (Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the fish from which the fillets were cut; for more information, see page 437.)
- Serve the barramundi immediately, skin side up, with the crushed peas, sour cream and a liberal pinch of sea salt on
- the fish skin. Add a splash of lemon oil over the sour cream.
- NOTES: Ghee is a type of clarified butter, made by heating the butter to separate the water, fat and milk solids. The water is discarded and the milk solids are left to caramelise with the fat to form a clear, nutty liquid. Good-quality versions are available in gourmet grocery stores and some supermarkets. Although it is used in the recipes throughout this book, feel free to use your favourite oil instead.
- If you don’t have a pan large enough for all the fillets, or two smaller pans, cook the fish in two batches. Keep the first batch warm while you cook the second.
Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook RRP $79.99
Lambs’ Ears and Honey was provided with a review copy of this cookbook by Murdoch Books.