I had been searching for a proper fish market for a few months now. Not a fish & chip shop that would sell me what he doesn’t fry, not Coles or Costa’s that just looks frozen and thawed – but a proper, whole-fish-in-the-tub, covered-with-ice type fish market. I actually found one at Hornsby the other day (Seafood@Hornsby) but thats a long way to drive. I found myself driving past Manly Harris Farm Markets very early this morning and noticed they were advertising seafood. Why not check it out then… And there it was – a proper fish market! This must have popped up since my last visit there probably well over 6 months ago. In fact the whole place could probably supply with me with all the ingredients I need for any recipe. Must remember that… It is on the way to the Meditation Course every Wednesday…
So despite not feeling exactly ready to take on a hard-core seafood dish, I decided I should take advantage of being at a fish market early in the morning (all day to cook) which is close, but not just down the road. So I got a coral trout (my first whole fish ever), a couple of swimmer crabs and a dozen prawns. Harris Farm also supplied with the rest of the ingredients so by 8am I was home and shopping done!! Nice!!
So rather than be stressed about trying to get it done in time (like the Lasagne dish) I decided to study the recipe properly and determine exactly what I could make ahead of time and what needed to be done JIT. The stock I could make ahead I decided. This required filleting the fish to use the carcass, and shelling the prawns. I thought I could also cook the crab. I have never filleted a fish or cooked crab before. Thank God for YouTube.
A couple of lessons learned:
- Your filleting knife must be really sharp. The guy on YouTube told me this, and I did the best I could with the sharpening steel but even I knew it wasn’t very sharp. This resulted in fillets that looked a little torn.
- You must have a big pot to cook crabs – the entire crab must be under the boiling water. The biggest pot I had saw one of the crabs just poking his eyes above the water. That crab didn’t cook properly. I could use his leg meat but not the body meat. Next time I’ll buy a bigger pit or cook them separately.
Luckily no disasters resulted from these lessons.
It took me several hours to fillet the fish, cook the fish stock, shell and devein the prawns, make the prawn stock and cook and pull all the crab meat out. I’m sure next time it would take only an hour.
So, fish stock made, prawns ready, crab ready – time to do something else till dinner time. Feeling good.
Time to eat. I get out the prawn stock, reduce it a bit and add the cream and lemon juice. Taste it for seasoning – the lemon seemed to dominate so added a good helping of salt and pepper – wow that tastes really good. Now I cut the coral trout up into smaller pieces. Problem is some pieces are thicker than others. I fry them for exactly the amount of time it said in the recipe – but some were good and some were under-cooked. Mental note to not be as timid next time. I blanch the asparagus and then add the crab to the sauce. Here’s the problem. This is a My Kitchen Rules recipe and on the show, they cooked the prawns in the sauce. On the recipe they say to boil the prawns briefly. What to do, what to do… I decide to do what they did on the show – sounds like it would be more flavourful anyway. So I give that a whirl but I have to guess when the prawns are done. I’d say they were a touch under-cooked. Or over-cooked – they weren’t as crunchy as I would like. But only just. They were more than edible.
So now I can assemble it. A triangle of asparagus, some prawns, topped with the coral trout and covered with sauce. OMG – that sauce was amazing! My first piece of trout was undercooked. I couldn’t cook all the trout at once, so I went back for seconds and cooked the trout longer. That time the trout was perfect. But the sauce was just soooo good! I ended up licking the pan and the serving spoon clean. The crispy bits were to die for.
This was an OMG great dish.