Though my local fish monger up the road does a perfectly good job there’s nothing like heading to the fish markets. The abundance of seafood all glistening, glorious and fresh is such a luxury to have on our doorstep. A visit to the markets makes me want to institute Seafood Sunday to force myself to eat fish more regularly.
Christmas Eve is always a sight to behold. Being the early riser getting to the markets before the hordes arrive is easy for me and it’s incredibly satisfy smugly leaving the car park with my bounty just as the mad queues and traffic jams are starting to form.
I shop at Claudios, for a few reasons. One – I saw a celebrity chef head in there one time so figured it must be good. Two – it’s the one that you can skip in and out of without heading into the main shopping centre if you’re in a hurry. Three – I’ve been purchasing fish there for my whole cooking life and have never had anything but a fabulous result.
Last year we set ourselves a challenge that we needed to explore more fish varieties extending beyond the Snapper and Salmon that we most frequently cook. We dabbled in Kingfish, experimented with Flounder and though we will continue to be a bit more adventurous it’s hard to resist a good cod or a beautiful barra.
With fish from the markets there’s often very little you need to do to make a beautiful seafood meal. Simpler is generally better and if the sashimi is anything to go buy, you can do absolutely nothing but a touch of soy. The sashimi selection at Claudios is seriously a thing of beauty. If you are into sashimi in any way, this is about as drool worthy as it gets. For New Year’s this year we bought the most exisquite strip of tuna for the Tuna Tostada canapes we were serving (sashimi tuna was all the was left at the market). I almost felt guilty accepting praise for this course as the tuna was at its beautiful best and all I really did was slice her up.
Having had a fairly rich meal at The Bourbon last night, so this evening we’re craving something a little lighter. A baked whole fish with a simple soy, ginger, chilli and shallots can be pulled together in around 30 mins. The most challenging part of this recipe is making perfect rice (which still alludes me after 30 something years of cooking).
BAKED BARRAMUNDI WITH CHILLI GINGER & SOY (Serves 2)
450gm whole barramundi
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp sunflower oil for fish
2 tbsp sunflower oil for dressing
3 seeded red chillies, julienned
4cm ginger, julienned
1 fat garlic glove, sliced
½ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Place the fish in a baking dish on baking paper. Drizzle the sunflower oil over the fish then sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes then check.
2. Heat the sunflower oil for the dressing then add the chilli, ginger and garlic and gently cook in the oil to soften, about 3 minutes.
3. Just before serving, add the soy and sesame oil to the chilli mix.
4. Scatter spring onions over the fish and then pour the soy dressing over the top.
5. Serve immediately with steamed rice and green Asian vegetables.
Watch outs: Whole fish cooking time seems to vary quite a bit due to varying thickness of the barramundi. The best way to check is to stick a fork in the middle of the fish when you think it’s ready and then put the fork to your lips. If it’s hot then your fish is cook.
Variations: Snapper also works wonderfully for this one.