Many whole cooked fish with herbs

Smarter seafood dining part 2

In Diet, Nutrition and Recipes, Health and Nutrition by LivingNowLeave a Comment

Fish Shopping Tips

Sustainable seafood choices are good for the conscience and the natural environment. Much of the seafood on today’s market is considered threatened from overfished fisheries. Like orange roughy and many imported seafood’s. Nice to eat but considered unsustainable. Bag and quota limits imposed for many years has many people hopeful of a returning bio mass. Get info on this issue at the Australian Marine Conservation Society and let you conscience guide you wile shopping.

Correct fish naming hits our shores

Seafood sellers are notorious for a never-ending barrage of names given to species, adding much confusion and leading to unwittingly unwise decisions at the counter. The good news for seafood lovers is that from July 1st 2008, the standardisation of seafood species names will make smarter choices easier for consumers.

Buy up

If you have limited access to fresh locally/caught fish or live a distance from a good seafood monger, or just find a seafood bargain – buy up, portion and freeze for future use.

Buying whole fish is earthy

They are not only cheaper, but you get to get your hand in the action as well as make fish stock with the bones and heads in 20minutes, freeze then later used in soups, sauces and rice dishes like risotto and paella.

Cooking tips

When you make a sauce consider making larger qualities then freezing portions for future use making for lighter work of home cooking.

Complementing fishy recipes

Recently working in Samtass Seafoods at the Central Market in Adelaide, carrying out in-store cooking demos and tastings while providing recipe cards, I saw the effect of how the right flavour and texture complementarity in recipes turns palates on.

As promised last month the first recipe is another fish with a salad and a complementary sauce while the second recipe is a one-pan fish pie recipe. These have received a great response at tastings and when cooked at home. They are simple enough for a meal made for yourself, yet elegant enough for a dinner party, as well as being suited to lunch or dinner. The first recipe is designed to use and bring out the best in stronger-flavoured, darker-fleshed and oiler fish but will still work well with white-fleshed fish – although the sauces and salads should then be served separately to avoid the stronger tastes masking the mild flavour of white-fish flesh. The one-pan fish pie recipe will work equally with white or dark fleshed fish and can be refrigerated and eaten over serval days, hot or cold.

Macadamia satay fish served with orange and fennel bulb salsa

Macadamia Satay Sauce

100 gm salted, roasted macadamia nuts, or if preferred roasted peanuts
50 ml vegetable oil
1 cm ginger
1 spring onion
1 stalk lemon grass
chilli to taste
½ tsp dark sesame oil
50 ml soy sauce (Japanese, naturally fermented tamari is recommended)
3 tlbsp raw sugar
1 tblsp honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
50 ml white wine vinegar
200 ml (½ jar) coconut cream or thickened cream
½ tsp Chinese five-spice
½ tsp turmeric, mainly for colour (optional


If you only have raw macadamia nuts (not roasted), first fry nuts in oil until toasted and slightly browned then

Place the next six ingredients in the pot and gently fry, till all cooked through

Add all the other ingredients, bring to boil then stab mix (bar mix) to a puree

Tip: Cook the sauce in larger qualities, then freeze portions for future use, makes for a lighter work overall. Best made the day before for the acidity to settle in, for the flavours to infuse and sauce to thicken.


Depending on how roughly you slice, these ingredients will leave you with a salad or a salsa – the choice is yours.

1 x Fennel bulb (small) – very thinly sliced or finely diced
2 x Tomato (medium) – sliced or finely diced
1 x Celery – sliced or finely diced
2 x
Orange – sliced or finely diced
1 x Spring onion – thinly sliced

Mix all ingredients

Tip: Make an hour before


6 serves of oilier, darker-fleshed fish fillets or whole fish


1. Grill, bake, poach or fry until cooked. If you have a fish that has skin, it makes for good eating if you can get the skin crispy by frying

2. Serve with salsa/salad and satay sauce. Plain rice will complement this dish superbly

One pan meal

Creamy white wine, garlic and fresh herb fisherman’s pie

A nutritionally complete yet decadent one pan meal with a crunchy top

This pie can be made in advance and reheated in oven for 30 mins @1800C

Crunchy top

6 RyVita style biscuits
10 Shredded wheat style biscuits
50g Butter – melted

Finely breakup the biscuits with your fingers (or in plastic bag). Mash roughly with a rolling pin into a crunchy blend and mix with butter.


600g fish – any white fleshed fish


1/4 cup of virgin olive oil (local if possible)
3 cloves garlic – roughly chopped/minced (avoid Chinese if possible)
½ cup dry white wine
300ml cream
1.5 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
½ bunch parsley – chopped
4 spring onion – finely sliced
2 tsp corn flour mixed with 1/2 cup water for thickening
100g mushroom spliced into 5mm slices
400g sweet potatoes – 5mm chucks


Place half of the oil in a fry pan.

Dust fish fillets in flour. Fry for 30 seconds each side to seal the fillets. Set them a side.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and gently fry the garlic till just cooked.

Add wine. Bring to the boil and reduce to a 1/3 of the original volume.

Add cream. Bring to the boil and reduce to one 1/2 of the original volume.

Stir in salt and pepper.

Thicken with corn flour slurry to form a nice thick consistency (not too thick and stodgy though).

Reduce heat to very low to avoid the cream sticking to the bottom and burning.

Spread sliced vegetables evenly in sauce and cook for a minute or so. Place fish fillets on vegetables and push them into the sauce until covered, moving the fish to help cooking and avoid sticking. It should take about 8 minutes to cook the fish and vegetables. Turn off heat. (Don’t worry if you break up the seafood or vegetables. It is a pie after all).

Allow to stand for five minute to ensure it is cooked all the way through.

Place chopped herbs evenly over fish then spread the crumble mixture on top.

Serve with boiled potatoes.

This pie can be made in advance and reheated in oven for 30 minutes at 180°C.


Mike Penning describes himself as holistic gastronomist – a hopeless food junky; a chef, gardener and gatherer, hunting for a greener and friendlier home cuisine. Mike has a diploma in hospitality management and has studied food technology, food hygiene and nutrition. He has worked in the finest restaurants and has also operated several food businesses of his own. He had a green and ethical upbringing and believes human sustainability can make it through raising self-awareness and wise lifestyle planning. Food is central to this. His hobby is photography, and he has three children.

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