Recipes from the Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook

Australian Fish and Seafood Cookbook

by John Susman, Anthony Huckstep, Sarah Swan and Stephen Hodges

The definitive guide to cooking great fish.

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DEEP-FRIED SCHOOL PRAWNS WITH AIOLI AND CHILLI SALT

Aust-Fish-Cookbook-Deep-fried-Prawns

Serves 2-4

vegetable oil, for deep-frying
rice flour, for dusting
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) raw school  prawns (shrimp)
2 tablespoons chopped spring onions (scallions) (optional)
chilli salt
1 teaspoon dried red chilli  (see note page 109)
1 teaspoon sea salt

aioli
20 g (¾ oz) butter
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon Fish Stock
120 g (4¼ oz/½ cup) Mayonnaise

To make the chilli salt, mix together the dried red chilli and sea salt. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the mixture roughly and set aside.

To make the aioli, caramelise the garlic by heating a small frying pan over medium-low heat and adding the butter. When the butter melts and begins to froth, add the garlic and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the sugar and keep tossing for 3 minutes, or until the garlic is golden. Add the fish stock, then continue tossing and cooking the garlic for 5-7 minutes, until tender. In a small bowl, crush the caramelised garlic using the back of a spoon, then stir through the mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate.

Half-fill a medium saucepan (see note) with vegetable oil and place over high heat. Heat the oil to 180°C (350°C) - check with an oil thermometer.

Place the rice flour in a large bowl. Dust the prawns with the flour then carefully drop them into the hot oil. Deep-fry for about 1 minute, until perfectly crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Transfer the prawns to a serving bowl, sprinkle with some of the chilli salt and scatter the spring onions over (if using), then toss well. Serve with the aioli and the remaining chilli salt on the side.

NOTES: To test the temperature of the hot oil without a thermometer, drop a cube of bread into the saucepan. If the bread turns golden in 15 seconds, the temperature is sitting perfectly on 180°C (350°F). If the bread only takes 10 seconds to turn golden, then the oil is around 190°C (375°F). If it takes 20-30 seconds to brown, the oil is too cold. Be patient and bring the oil to the correct temperature before proceeding.

To deep-fry this quantity of prawns, use a 6 litre (203 fl oz/24 cup) saucepan. Half-fill the pan with oil and heat over high heat. When deep-frying in a saucepan, it's advisable to keep the oil level a good 10 cm (4 in) below the rim of the pan. The other option for deep-frying is, of course, an electric deep-fryer. The used oil can be strained, cooled and refrigerated for later use.

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GRILLED GARFISH FILLETS WITH CUCUMBER AND ANCHOVY SALSA

Aust-Fish-Cookbook-Garfish

Serves 4

12 whole garfish, filleted (about  100 g/3½ oz fish per person)
40 g (1½ oz) butter, melted
cucumber & anchovy salsa
1 large Lebanese (short) cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, very finely diced
1 large vine-ripened tomato, blanched, peeled, seeds removed, very finely diced  (see note)
1 tablespoon drained baby capers  in vinegar
2 white anchovies, diced
1 tablespoon finely shredded  flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
lemon oil, as required  (see note page 25)
good pinch of sea salt


To make the salsa, combine the cucumber, tomato, capers, anchovies and parsley in a bowl, then mix thoroughly. Add  a good splash of lemon oil and the salt, then toss gently.

Preheat an oven grill (broiler) to high.

Lay the garfish fillets on a baking tray, skin side up. Brush the fillets with the butter. Place under the hot grill and cook for 1 minute.

Transfer the fillets to serving plates, arranging them in a star pattern layered one on top of another. Spoon the salsa over the top and serve.

NOTE: To blanch a large tomato, cut a small cross in the base. Using a spoon, lower it carefully into boiling salted water for just 10 seconds. Remove the tomato and plunge it into iced water for 20 seconds. Gently remove the tomato from the iced water and peel - the skin should come off easily.

 

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LING BURGER

Aust-Fish-Cookbook-Ling-burger

Serves 4

vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 egg
2 teaspoons milk
80 g (2¾ oz/½ cup) rice flour
25 g (1 oz) panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs
4 × 120 g (4¼ oz) ling fillets, skin removed, pin-boned
4 brioche buns, cut in half horizontally
8 baby cos (romaine) lettuce leaves
2 whole pickled onions,  sliced into rings
2 Pickled Cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthways
100 g (3½ oz) Tartare Sauce


Half-fill a medium saucepan with vegetable oil and place over high heat (see note). Heat the oil to 180°C (350°C) - check with an oil thermometer.

In a large, shallow bowl, whisk the egg and milk together to make an egg wash. Place the rice flour in another bowl and the panko breadcrumbs in a third. Dust each ling fillet in the rice flour first, then dip it in the egg wash and, lastly, the breadcrumbs.

Tap off any excess crumbs and lower the ling fillets carefully into the hot oil. Fry the ling for about 2 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove from the saucepan and drain on a baking tray lined with paper towel.

Place the bottom half of each brioche bun on a tray. Add two lettuce leaves to each and top with the fried fish. Add the pickled onion rings, pickled cucumber and tartare sauce, then place the other brioche half on top and serve.

NOTES: For this much fish, it's safe to use a 6 litre (203 fl oz/ 24 cup) saucepan. When deep-frying in a saucepan, it's advisable to keep the oil level a good 10 cm (4 in) below the rim of the pan. The other option for deep-frying is, of course, an electric deep-fryer. The used oil can be strained, cooled and refrigerated for later use.

To test the temperature of the oil, drop a cube of bread into it. If it turns golden in 15 seconds, it's sitting perfectly on 180°C (350°F). If the bread takes only 10 seconds to turn golden, then the oil is around 190°C (375°F). If it takes 20-30 seconds to brown, the oil is too cold. Be patient and get the oil to the correct temperature before proceeding.

 

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MIRROR DORY FILLET WITH CHIPS AND SALAD

Aust-Fish-Cookbook-Mirror-dory

Serves 4

1 tablespoon lemon juice
80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup)  extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground  black pepper, to taste
4 mirror dory fillets (from 2 whole fish; see note), skin on, ribcage removed (see page 431)
2 tablespoons rice flour
80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) ghee  (see note page 26)
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes,  each cut into 8 wedges
4 large radicchio leaves, torn
1 large handful watercress
½ iceberg lettuce, torn
Chips (page 459), to serve
1 lemon, cut in quarters, to serve
tomato sauce (ketchup),  to serve (optional)


Make a dressing by whisking together the lemon juice and olive oil with a little salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

To prepare the dory 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 two large cast-iron or heavy-based frying pans (these are large fillets and it's essential that the fish is not overcrowded  in the pan) over medium-high heat and divide the ghee between the two pans. When the pans are hot and the ghee is translucent, place the fillets in the pans, skin side down, leaving the paper on the flesh side. Place 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) weights - such as a heavy pot or another pan - on top of the fillets and cook for 2 minutes, lifting the weights once or twice then moving the fillets gently around the pans so they don't burn.

Remove the paper, gently flip the fillets using a spatula and quickly seal the flesh side. Mirror fillets are thin and become dry if overcooked, so remove them from the pans once sealed and immediately transfer to serving plates. (Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the fish from which the fillets were cut.)

Quickly toss the tomato, radicchio, watercress and lettuce in a bowl with the dressing. Serve the dory fillets with the chips  and salad, with lemon quarters and tomato sauce (if using) on  the side.

NOTES: This recipe works well with any dory. If you only have one large pan, cook the fillets in two batches. Keep the first batch warm while you cook the second.

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