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10 Great Recipes from Sydney Seafood School

Written by Aksel Ritenis

10 Great Recipes from Sydney Seafood School

Snapper Tartare with Ruby Grapefruit

ASSEMBLING | RAW | SANDWICHESSERVES 8 AS AN ENTRÉE (30 CANAPÉS)Snapper Tartare with Ruby Grapefruit

This is a delicious introduction for people uncertain about eating raw fish, as Snapper has a mild taste and the herbs and citrus provide most of the flavour. The most important thing is to use spanking fresh fish.

Ingredients:

1 baguette
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
400g sashimi-grade Snapper fillet, skin off, bones removed (see notes)
2 golden shallots, finely diced
1 bulb baby fennel, finely diced
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped French tarragon (see notes)
1 teaspoon finely chopped chervil
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
1 ruby grapefruit, segmented and diced (see notes)
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
18 sprigs chervil, to garnish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Using a serrated knife cut the baguette on the diagonal into thin slices. Brush with a little olive oil, spread in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes, until crisp and lightly coloured. Allow to cool on the tray (see notes).

Cut fish into 5mm dice, place in a large bowl, add ¼ cup olive oil, shallots, fennel, cucumber, chives, parsley, tarragon, chervil, dill, grapefruit, salt and pepper and mix gently.

Spoon mixture onto toasted baguette, drizzle with remaining olive oil, sprinkle with salt and top with a chervil sprig.

Notes:Sashimi-grade fish is normally sold trimmed, if it is not, trim off any skin and dark muscle and check for bones before dicing.

If French tarragon is not available, omit it, do not replace with tasteless Russian tarragon.

To segment the grapefruit: using a sharp knife cut off the top and bottom to reveal the flesh, stand it upright and cut down the sides to remove all skin and white pith. Holding the grapefruit in your hand over a bowl, cut down either side of each of the membranes to remove the segments. Drop them into the bowl and, when they are all removed, squeeze the remaining membrane over the bowl to collect the juice. Pomelo, blood orange or other citrus fruit can be substituted for the ruby grapefruit.

Toasted baguette slices can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

Alternative species:Atlantic Salmon, Tuna, Yellowtail Kingfish.

Ceviche

CURING & PICKLING | MARINATING | RAW | SALADSSERVES 6 AS AN ENTRÉECeviche

Acidic marinades denature the protein in fish in a similar way to heat, turning the flesh opaque and softening it; this method of ‘cooking’ seafood is popular in many countries. In Central and South America it’s called ceviche, while a similar dish, often with the addition of coconut cream, is known by various names throughout the Pacific Islands, including Fijian kokoda. As the seafood isn’t actually being cooked, it is important to make sure it’s sashimi-grade, which is the freshest possible. If you have time, it’s great to cut tortillas into strips and deep-fry or bake them yourself; if not, commercially available ones are a good alternative (we like Mission brand), or even corn chips, just make sure they aren’t flavoured! Ceviche also makes a great taco filling.

Ingredients:

2 baby cos lettuce
1 x 600g piece sashimi-grade Grey Morwong fillet, skin off, bones removed (see notes)
½ cup strained lime juice
1 medium red chilli, seeded and very finely chopped
½ yellow capsicum, seeded and finely diced
½ red onion, finely diced
6 green onions, finely sliced
¼ cup coriander leaves, torn
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
Salt flakes, to taste
Crisp tortilla strips, for serving (see above)

Method:

Remove 12 well-shaped leaves from toward the centre of the lettuces, wash, pat dry and set aside, reserving the rest of the lettuce for another use.

Discard any dark flesh from the fish and cut into a fine dice. Place in a shallow bowl, pour over lime juice, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 8 hours, stirring frequently to ensure all pieces spend time submerged in the juice.

Meanwhile, combine chilli, capsicum, red and green onions, coriander and tomato and refrigerate until needed.

Drain fish and stir it through the salad, taste and add salt.

Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving platter, arrange ceviche beside them and serve with tortilla strips on the side.

Notes:Sashimi-grade fish is normally sold trimmed, if it isn’t, trim off any skin and dark muscle and check for bones before cutting it.

Alternative species:Other Morwongs, Blue-Eye Trevalla, Snapper, Scallop, Yellowtail Kingfish.

Cold-smoked Salmon with Dill Crème Fraîche

ASSEMBLING | BRUNCH | SANDWICHES | SMOKINGMAKES 15 PIECESCold-smoked Salmon with Dill Crème Fraîche

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, strips of smoked Salmon and a creamy, herby spread atop crisp croutons. You could use other herbs such as chervil or French tarragon, replace the crème fraiche with cottage cheese or ricotta and use hot-smoked Salmon or trout if you prefer. The components can be prepared well ahead of time, but don’t combine them any more than half an hour before you’re ready to serve or the spread will soften the croutons.

Ingredients:

500g crème fraîche or sour cream
2 teaspoon finely chopped dill, plus extra sprigs for garnish
2 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt flakes, to taste
Sourdough baguette, thinly sliced, for serving (see notes)
500g cold-smoked Salmon, cut into small pieces

Method:

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Combine crème fraiche, dill, lemon juice and salt.

Place baguette slices on an oven tray and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until crisp on both sides. Spread crème fraiche mixture on baguette slices and top with a piece of smoked Salmon.

Garnish a platter with dill sprigs, arrange croutons on top and serve.

Notes:Toasted baguette slices (croutons) can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

Alternative species:Hot or cold-smoked Rainbow Trout, hot-smoked Salmon.

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Stir-fried Ginger & Honey Prawns

STIR-FRYINGSERVES 4Stir-fried Ginger & Honey Prawns

This is our modern take on the old Australian-Chinese classic of Honey Prawns; the ginger adds a fresh, slightly spicy note that balances out the sweetness of the honey. Fresh ginger is available in both young and mature forms, though young ginger is generally only available in summer. If you can get some, use it for this recipe; it’s juicier than the older ginger, with a milder flavour and pale, thin skin that doesn’t need peeling.

Ingredients:

1kg green Prawns, peeled and deveined
½ cup plain flour
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 long red chilli, finely sliced on the diagonal
5cm piece ginger, cut into very fine matchsticks
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see notes)
Steamed jasmine rice, for serving

Method:

Lightly coat Prawns in flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat oil in a frying pan, add prawns and cook for a minute or 2, until they just turn pink. Remove prawns from pan and set aside.

Drain oil from pan and wipe it out. Add honey, lemon juice, chilli and ginger to pan and heat until honey has melted. Add prawns and toss to coat well in the sauce.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with sesame seeds with rice on the side.

Notes:Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes, tossing gently to prevent them burning, or under a griller (but watch them closely).

Alternative species:Bugs, Redclaw, Yabby.

Salade Niçoise (Provençal Tuna Salad)

PAN-FRYING | SALADSSERVES 6 AS AN ENTRÉESalade Niçoise (Provençal Tuna Salad)

This modern adaptation of the classical southern French salad replaces the more traditional canned Tuna with fresh … although the original Salade Niçoise didn’t contain any seafood, only vegetables. Kipfler or pink fir potatoes are ideal for this recipe.

Ingredients:

500g waxy potatoes, peeled
250g baby green beans, topped and tailed
600g Tuna steaks
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 punnet grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
24 Ligurian olives
1 green oak lettuce, or other green leaves, torn
3 hardboiled eggs, quartered
12 Anchovy fillets, halved lengthways (see notes)

Method:

Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and steam for 5 minutes, add beans and continue steaming for a further 4-5 minutes, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, season Tuna well with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add a little of the oil and cook Tuna, covered, for 2-4 minutes, depending on thickness, then turn over and continue cooking, uncovered, until flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork, about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and remaining oil together, or shake in a screw-top jar.

Place potatoes, beans, tomatoes and olives into a bowl. Break Tuna into large chunks and add to the bowl. Add dressing and toss gently to combine.

Line a large platter or individual plates with torn lettuce leaves. Spoon salad onto the leaves and garnish with eggs and anchovies.

Notes:If available, use Ortiz brand Anchovy fillets as they have a much better flavour and are less salty.

Alternative species:Albacore, Bonito.

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare

PASTASERVES 6 AS AN ENTRÉELinguine ai Frutti di Mare

Seafood pasta sauces are known by different regional names all over the Italian coast, including  “allo scoglio” (reef-style) and “alla pescatore” (fisherman-style). The more general name however is “ai frutti di mare” (with fruits of the sea”). “Spaghetti marinara” sounds so maritime we instantly think of pasta with seafood, however “marinara” refers to the mariners (or sailors) whose wives made a very simply sauce with tomato, garlic and fresh herbs when their husbands returned after months at sea and the last thing they wanted to eat was seafood.

Ingredients:

500g linguine
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
500g Blue Mussels, scrubbed and debearded
500g Vongole, purged (see notes)
½ cup dry white wine
400g green Prawns, peeled, deveined, cut into bite-sized chunks
400g Squid, cleaned and cut into strips
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Toasted Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (see notes)
1½ tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ lemon, zest grated

Method:

Make Toasted Seasoned Breadcrumbs: heat olive oil in a small frying pan, add breadcrumbs and stir over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool then stir through parsley and lemon zest.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add pasta, stir well and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente.

Meanwhile heat half the olive oil in a frying pan, add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat until onion softens. Increase heat and add Mussels, Vongole and wine. Stir and cover for a minute or 2, until shells start to open. As each shell opens, remove from the pan to a bowl. Pour cooking liquid into the bowl. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from most of the shells, setting a few aside in the shell for garnish; add the rest of the Vongole and Mussels to the bowl of cooking liquid.

Return pan to a medium heat, add remaining oil and, when hot, add Prawns and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add Squid and cook, stirring, for a further 30 seconds. Return Mussels, Vongole and cooking liquid to the pan. Cover and remove from heat until pasta is cooked.

Drain cooked pasta. Return frying pan to the heat, add pasta and parsley to the seafood and toss over a medium heat for a couple of minutes to mix well and until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs and Vongole in the shell.

Notes:Vongole are usually sold ‘purged’ to remove sand and grit, however it’s still a good idea to place them in a large bowl of cool salted water and sea salt (30g salt per litre water) for several hours or overnight, at room temperature, to get rid of any remaining sand (if you refrigerate them they’ll close up and won’t ‘spit out’ the sand).

To make fresh breadcrumbs, pulse day-old bread in a food processor until finely crumbed. It’s a great way to use up stale bread and you can keep them in the freezer to use whenever breadcrumbs are required.

Alternative species:Pipis (instead of Vongole or Mussels), Cuttlefish, Octopus (instead of Squid).

Whole Poached Salmon with Cucumber Salad

POACHING | WHOLE FISHSERVES 12Whole Poached Salmon with Cucumber Salad

Traditionally Salmon is poached in court bouillon, but English food writer, Jane Grigson, recommends strong brine for an even tastier result, while allowing the fish to cool in the poaching liquid helps keep it moist. It takes a bit of confidence to handle the whole cooked fish; if you feel hesitant about turning it over, just peel back the skin from one side for presentation.

Ingredients:

525g coarse salt
6 litres water
1 x 2.5-3kg Salmon, gilled and gutted
Dill sprigs, to garnish

Cucumber Salad with Caper & Dill Mayonnaise  
250ml whole-egg mayonnaise (see notes)
½ cup finely chopped dill
½ cup baby capers, rinsed and dried
6 Lebanese cucumbers, seeded, cut into half moons
Salt flakes, to taste

Method:

Rinse fish, especially the cavity to remove any blood, wipe with a clean cloth to remove as much of the slime as possible. Place fish on the rack in a fish kettle, cover with salt water and place lid on top. Place kettle over 2 burners on a medium heat and bring to the boil (this should take about 20 minutes). As soon as the water begins to bubble, turn off heat, remove the lid and leave fish to cool completely in poaching liquid (1½-2 hours).

Meanwhile make Cucumber Salad: combine mayonnaise, dill and capers; set half aside. Stir remainder through cucumbers, taste and add salt.

When cool, remove fish from poaching liquid, place on a serving platter and carefully remove skin, then gently scrape off any dark flesh from just below the skin. Carefully turn over and repeat on the other side, leaving head and tail intact.

Spoon Cucumber Salad around fish, garnish with dill and serve remaining mayonnaise on the side.

Notes:If you don’t want to make your own mayonnaise, use one made from whole eggs such as S&W or Thomy.

Alternative species:Rainbow Trout (especially sea-raised, sold as ‘Ocean Trout’).

Rock Lobster & Herb Salad with Asian Dressing

ASSEMBLING | MARINATING | SALADSSERVES 4 AS AN ENTRÉERock Lobster & Herb Salad with Asian Dressing

This salad, full of fresh herbs and Asian flavours, is a good way to make one Rock Lobster go further.

Ingredients:

1 x 1kg cooked Rock Lobster (see notes)
1 cup watercress sprigs
½ cup coriander leaves
½ cup spearmint leaves
2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into crescents
2 spring onions, bulbs only, finely sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Asian Dressing
¼ cup lime juice
2 red shallots, finely chopped (see notes)
2 medium red chillies, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons grated palm sugar

Method:

Make Asian Dressing: combine ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

Place the Rock Lobster on its back on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, separate the tail from the head. Use kitchen scissors to cut down either side of the underside of the tail shell. Pull shell back and remove the meat in one piece. Slice 8 medallions from the thickest part of the tail, remove the digestive tract that runs through the top half of each medallion. Roughly chop remaining meat. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Combine watercress, coriander and mint and wash and dry well. Add cucumber, spring onion and dressing and toss well.

Divide salad between plates, scatter with chopped rock lobster meat, place 2 medallions on each salad, drizzle any remaining dressing over the medallions and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tandoori-style Swordfish with Mint & Yoghurt Sauce

A tandoor is a cylindrical oven, usually made from clay and fired by charcoal, best known in Indian cuisine but also used in Central Asia and parts of the Middle East. Meat and fish cooked in an Indian tandoor is often coated with a yoghurt marinade, and that’s what we’ve used here to give this dish an Indian flavour. If you cook it over charcoal, it will have an even more authentic smoky taste.

Ingredients:

4 x 180g Swordfish steaks
Vegetable oil, for brushing
Lime pickle, for serving
Indian chutney or sambal, for serving
Steamed basmati rice, for serving

Tandoori Paste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon medium chilli powder
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt flakes
¼ cup thick natural yoghurt
1 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoon mustard oil

Mint & Yoghurt Sauce
¼ cup mint leaves, finely sliced
¼ cup coriander leaves, finely sliced
1½ cups thick natural yoghurt
½ lime, juiced

Method:

Make Tandoori Paste: combine all ingredients.

Spread Tandoori Paste onto both sides of the fish, cover and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make Mint & Yoghurt Sauce: combine all ingredients. Set aside.

Heat a barbecue or char-grill plate.

Wipe most of the marinade off the fish, brush with oil and cook fish for a couple of minutes each side, until just opaque all the way through.

Serve with Mint & Yoghurt Sauce, pickle or sambal, chutney and rice.

Alternative species:Striped Marlin, Opah.

Stir-fried Prawns & Cucumber in Tamarind Sauce

STIR-FRYINGSERVES 4Stir-fried Prawns & Cucumber in Tamarind Sauce

Tamarind is the fruit from the pods of a large tree native to northern Africa which has also been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years. The flesh and seeds are dried then reconstituted and strained to produce a deliciously fruity liquid which is used to add a sour note to many dishes.

Ingredients:

1 telegraph cucumber
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1kg green prawns, peeled and deveined
½ cup coconut milk
⅓ cup tamarind liquid (see notes)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
2 small red chillies, seeded and finely sliced
Steamed jasmine rice, for serving

Method:

Peel and halve cucumber lengthwise, scrape out seeds and slice into crescents.

Heat a wok, add oil, then prawns and stir for 2 minutes or so, until they are just changing colour. Add coconut milk, cucumber, tamarind liquid, fish sauce, palm sugar and chilli and stir for another minute or 2, until prawns are just cooked through.

Serve with steamed rice.

Notes:Dried tamarind pulp is sold in blocks at Asian grocery stores. To make tamarind liquid, work 2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp into ½ cup of warm water then strain through a fine sieve, pressing down to remove as much tamarind as possible.

Alternative species:Bugs, Marron, Redclaw, Rock Lobsters, Yabby.

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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