How To Select The Freshest Fish
Learn top tips from our Head Chef James Green
Nothing beats selecting the freshest seafood - sourced and purchased locally - for you to cook up a storm at home with your mates.
Our Head Chef James knows how important it is to cook with the freshest seafood. Texture, colour, smell and taste are all major factors that come into play when knowing what fish to buy. Here are James' top tips for selecting the best, freshest and tastiest fish.
The ability to select quality sustainable seafood is the first step in being able to enjoy first-rate seafood at home.
Firstly, I would recommend becoming at least vaguely familiar with the types of species that are likely to be Australian or New Zealand caught, and sustainably harvested. I recommend an app called GoodFish, which I use from time to time to cross-reference the fish we use in the restaurant with their sustainability and identify species and regions to be avoided.
Finding a reputable supplier is key, whether it be a trusted local fishmonger or a larger retail outlet like the Sydney Fish Market. From there, there are a few easily identifiable markers of quality to look for. In whole fish, eyes should be clear, the body firm and plump, and the gills bright red. A fishy smell of any kind is never a good sign of freshness. Certain deepwater species such as blue eye and hapuka will have a layer of slime, this is completely normal.
I try to buy Australian or New Zealand products for a few reasons. Firstly, they’re more likely to be fresh, and the fisheries of both countries are well managed compared to some of the exploited fisheries of the Pacific, so you can buy with a clean conscience.
Lastly, it’s well worth looking at some alternative and lesser-known species. There are many more delicious fish in the sea than the typical snapper, barramundi and tuna. A beautiful fresh bonito rivals the far more expensive various tuna species, and a humble trevally makes sashimi that I believe is better than your standard kingfish.
Once you’ve managed to get your fish home, the next phase begins. The cooking. Or not cooking, as the case may be. If you’ve selected well, the battle is halfway won.