It’s important to balance the scales

Jeremy Strode’s classic fish ‘n’ chips.Seafood sustainability is a hot topic, with many differing opinions. On a personal level, I try to use fish species, such as those in today’s recipes, that are in plentiful supply. I haven’t cooked tuna for 15 years, because of concerns about overfishing. So imagine my surprise when I checked Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, compiled by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, and noticed pink snapper, one of my biggest sellers, is considered overfished in parts of Australia and New Zealand. I’m looking at using a different variety.
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There have been growing efforts to source seafood with minimal impact on fish numbers and the marine environment. It’s easier now to find species, wild and farmed, that are caught and managed responsibly. I find they make for a far more interesting menu than the usual suspects. In recent years I’ve cooked lots of cuttlefish, octopus, mahi-mahi, Spanish and slimy mackerel, bonito, leatherjacket, mullet and eel, which have been popular with diners.

Organic mussels from Spring Bay in Tasmania are one of the best products available at the moment and the consistency of Australia’s oysters and prawns never ceases to amaze me.

I try to treat seafood in the same way as any ingredient: if it’s in season, in abundant supply at a good price and tastes great, I’m a happy man.

Jeremy StrodeMy classic fish’n’chips

I don’t know of a better fish to batter and deep fry than flathead; it stays so wonderfully moist. A domestic fryer helps here, it’s easier and safer.

Cotton seed oil5 large sebago potatoes, scrubbed1 cup mayonnaise1/2 lemon, juiced2 dill pickles, finely chopped3 tbsp capers, finely chopped2 eschallots, peeled and chopped1 cup flat parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnishSea salt for seasoning200g plain flour375ml Coopers Pale Ale, chilled1 lemon, quartered12 pieces flathead fillet, skinned and boned, about 50g each

Preheat fryer with cotton seed oil to 180C. Bring a steamer to the boil. Cut the potatoes into squares without wasting too much – the chips don’t have to be perfectly uniform. Cut into chips about a half-centimetre square and steam until just cooked. Lay on a cloth to dry.

Make tartare sauce by mixing mayonnaise, lemon juice, pickles, capers, eschallots and parsley. Fry the chips until golden brown, drain on a paper towel and season. Make a batter by whisking flour in a bowl with beer until smooth. Quickly dip the fish in batter, allowing excess to drain, and fry until golden brown, about three to four minutes. Remove, drain on paper towel and season. Place the chips on four warm plates, the fish on top and garnish with lemon and parsley. Serve tartare sauce on the side.

Serves 4Blue-eye trevalla and curry leaf

Chef Annemarie Rodrigo, who worked with us at Bistrode, has Sri Lankan heritage and gave me a curry leaf tree. I’m obsessed with the leaves, their flavour is so unique. Barramundi is a great alternative to trevalla.

1 tsp black mustard seeds1 tsp fennel seeds1 tsp nigella seeds1 tsp coriander seeds1/2 tsp chilli flakes2 cardamom pods1 tsp white peppercorns1 1/2 brown onions, finely sliced10g fresh turmeric, peeled2 cloves garlic, peeled20g fresh ginger, peeled50ml vegetable oil, plus a dashSalt and pepper 4 blue-eye trevalla fillets, about 180g each, skin on Olive oil 12 curry leaves 2 long red chillis, cut in half lengthways 1 lemon, cut in quarters Sea salt

Preheat oven to 200C. To make the Indian spice paste, heat spices in a frying pan for a couple of minutes, tossing regularly. Place in a blender with half an onion, turmeric, garlic, ginger and a dash of oil. Blend until smooth. On low heat, add vegetable oil and spice mix to a saucepan and cook gently for 15 minutes, then cool.

Cut four squares of greaseproof paper, about 25 centimetres wide. Season fish. Put even amounts of remaining sliced onion in the centre of each piece of paper, add a dash of olive oil and put fish on top, skin up. Smear a tablespoon of spice paste on the fish skin and put three curry leaves on each. Place half a chilli alongside and fold the paper in half, seal the top at one end, add a dash of water and seal the bag completely, making sure it’s fairly tight. Put on a hot baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and serve on four warm plates with lemon and sea salt. Serve with boiled basmati rice.

Serves 4Slimy mackerel with green sauce

This is my favourite whole fish of the moment, very healthy and so tasty.

2 cups flat parsley leaves 1 cup mint leaves 1 cup coriander leaves 1 cup dill 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1 tbsp capers 2 anchovies 50ml extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and pepper 4 slimy mackerels, about 350g each, gutted, fins trimmed, scored 3 times on each side 1 lemon, quartered

Preheat grill to high. Preheat oven to 200C. To make green sauce, blend herbs, mustard, garlic, capers, anchovies and olive oil. Don’t over-blend, leave some texture in the sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Rub the fish with some extra oil, season and char each side on the grill. Place on a baking tray and bake for eight minutes. Remove and serve with sauce, lemon and a salad.

Serves 4

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