We were shopping and had already been to the fish market so I decided to get the bits for a Greek Salad. Paula had salmon (again) and I had red throat emperor. I made a garlic and thyme Beurre noisette or burnt butter sauce to top the fish. All very simple and tasty.
As the weather heats up around here, we are moving away from the meaty winter dishes and leaning toward lighter more tropic friendly food. We love fish and seafood and that is the obvious road to travel particularly as we live on a yacht. When we go gypsy and live out at sea and the islands we eat loads of seafood, from fish to oysters, prawns, crabs and crayfish to name a few and we catch it all ourselves as we want it. Time we got back to doing that I think. Even here in the marina we have access to good fresh local seafood from the fishmonger up the road. This is some excellent Coral Trout just pan seared and a mandarin ginger sauce. The side dish is a roux based potato, asparagus and boiled egg bake. The new meat and three veg!
We went to the fish market today to get some fresh fish. Paula went with her usual choice of Atlantic Salmon. I however just couldn’t decide between, Red Throat Emperor or a nice freshly cut Spanish Mackeral steaks…So I had both! I made a Smoked Paprika Rice cake with last nights leftover rice and seared it in butter and I also made a Candied Orange, Triple Cream Brie and Fennel salad to go with the pan seared fish. And topped it all of with my Orange and Ginger sauce.
Emmmmm Fish Kushi-age. This is one of my favourite Japanese inspired dishes. It is often made with beef but I prefer the fish version, thanks Hideo Dekura for the idea. We went to the fish mongers and found some straight off the boat Red Emperor, one of Australia’s premium eating fish. They grow to mammoth proportions as can be seen below but retain their eating qualities throughout the size range. The legal minimum size is 55cm in Qld so they are a large fish whenever you take them. Juvenile red emperor have striking colours with the white parts being pearlescent and the red almost glows, there is a nice table sized coral trout swimming with this little school of emperor (click pic to enlarge). While I cooked the Kushi-age Paula dressed the plate with some blanched carrot, ginger and some broadbeans. Chuck in some limes and soy sauce and go hard.
Living on a boat you spend a lot of time away from shops and things like restaurants and takeaway food. You also tend to eat a lot of fish and one takeaway that is easy to replicate at sea is Fish and Chips. Potatoes keep well at sea and batter is easy to make so we will often have golden crunchy fish n chips anchored behind an island somewhere miles from civilisation. But too much of a good thing is sometimes well… too much, so I trick it up a bit and give us a more up market version. This one I have done with Atlantic Salmon because we are in port and it was really fresh in and well priced. I have done similar at sea with Coral Trout and Red Throat Emperor. It’s still Kinda fish n chips, theres fish and potato chips, and parsnip chips. There are two Potato…Columns about an inch square and two & 1/2 inches long on Ginger and Garlic Sweet Potato Puree, topped with the Pan Seared Salmon and the Orange and Ginger Butter Sauce. The Veg is Green Pea Puree and Parsnip Slivers and the sweet potato garnish on the edge of the plate. I have to admit I licked my plate. We had fish and chips from the shop here in the marina the other night and it cost just under $20. With the two pieces of salmon costing $10.30 I would say it cost me about $7.50 per plate to make this.
Of course I’ve had crabs, I live on a boat. Mud Crabs are just walking gourmet lunch boxes aren’t they.
It actually took me a while to warm to mud crabs, one, their price to buy, two, their fearsome claws if you catch your own and frankly I have always preferred Sand Crabs. But living aboard you come to utilise most forms of seafood and the mud crabs abundance and tastiness puts it right up there on the menu. Catching them is relatively easy, just pick a nice creek with mangroves nearby, bait your pot and chuck it in and time will take care of the rest. It gets progressively harder from there. As you can see from the photo the crab is tied up, YOU have to do that, leave them untied at your peril. The claws are as fierce as they look. You may also notice the handle of a plunger at left of shot, the plunger I use to hold the crab still while I put my raw naked toes on his back to hold him down while I tie his claws, this is true gladiatorial cuisine here. The crab in the pic is a monster; we were anchored at a place called Island Head Creek on the east coast of central Queensland. As often happens the weather stepped in and we ended up being blown in and stayed anchored for 11 days, not the original 3 we had planned. Island Head creek is very isolated, no roads in, access is by sea only and the area is part of the Shoal Water Bay military reserve and is closed for live firing military exercises for part of each year. The whole estuary system some ten odd miles of sandy beaches, towering mountain cliffs and mangrove forests is a literal Jurassic park. The crabs are bigger, the fish are bigger, the birds, dingoes and turtles are bigger and no doubt the occasionally spotted resident crocodiles are probably big too. Oh did I mention the oysters? some as big as your hand and they grow on the rocks, you don’t even have to get in the water to get them. The couple off the other boat we were traveling with ended the month there having eaten 28 crabs for the month. There is something very primal about hunting and gathering your own food, doing it in a place like that with a menu of crabs, oysters, fish, prawns and squid helps make it quite civilised in deed. Mud crabs are very versatile too and you can make heaps of great dishes with them such as Crab and Tomato Consomme and Singapore Chilli Mud Crab. I will dig out some pics and post some dishes.
These are some Island Head Creek oysters, we gather about 5 dozen in 1/2 an hour off the rocks