I’m looking forward to dangling a fishing line over the back of a boat this summer. It's years since I’ve enjoyed fish straight from the sea. My only fresh ‘catch’ in recent times has been a trout — given to me by a neighbour.
Do salt-water fish taste saltier than the freshwater variety? No. Fish have a special physiological mechanism that prevents them from becoming as salty as the water in which they live. They are, in fact, low in sodium. A 100g portion of raw fish contains only 100 milligrams of sodium, just five per cent of the recommended daily amount for a person on a low-sodium diet.
The same amount of fish contains between one-third and one half of the protein required by our bodies each day. It is also high in vitamin B12 — important for a healthy nervous system — and iodine that assists the thyroid gland to function competently.
And don’t be put off oily fish such as tuna or salmon. Although they may have a slightly higher kilojoule count than leaner fish, the fat they contain is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that people who include oily fish in their diet at least once a week are less likely to suffer from heart disease.
SIMPLE SEAFOOD CURRY
Delicious, quick and easy.
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, quartered
2 tablespoons plain flour
grated rind and juice 2 lemons
3-5 teaspoons good curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
400g can coconut cream
600g assorted seafood eg skinned and boned fish (tarakihi, salmon), mussels, squid rings, shelled raw prawns
Place the garlic, onion, flour, lemon rind and juice, curry powder, salt and coconut cream in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour into a saucepan and simmer until reduced and thickened.
Meanwhile, cut the fish into chunks. Add the seafood to the saucepan 5 minutes before serving and poach until just cooked. Great garnished with coriander leaves. Serves 4.
OYSTERS THREE WAYS
Prepare the toppings in advance and garnish the oysters just before serving.
Basil Topping: 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and white pepper to taste
1 chorizo sausage
1 teaspoon olive oil, extra
Caviar Topping: 4-5 tablespoons salmon caviar
1-2 tablespoons mirin
Oysters: 24 oysters
8 large basil leaves
1 large lemon
Blanch the basil briefly in boiling water, until limp. Drain and pat dry. Place with the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a small blender. Process, until smooth. Strain.
Measure out 100mls of the basil-infused oil. Whisk with the lemon juice and seasoning. Set aside.
Skin the chorizo. Dice. Briefly fry in the extra olive oil, until crisp. Drain and pat dry.
Place the caviar and mirin ready to be used.
Serve the oysters in their shells or individual serving dishes. Place a basil leaf in eight of the shells or dishes. Top each with an oyster, a little basil oil dressing and the chorizo. Top 8 more oysters with a little mirin and the salmon caviar. Top the remaining 8 oysters with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serves 4 as a starter.
CREAMY SMOKED FISH FETTUCCINE
Use smoked white fish or smoked salmon in this yummy dish.
200g dried fettuccine
2 shallots, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
200g skinned and boned smoked fish, flaked
1 cup cream
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Boil the fettuccine in a large saucepan of boiling water, until tender.
Meanwhile, sauté the shallots in the olive oil in a large pan until very soft. Add the vinegar and simmer until almost evaporated.
Stir in the smoked fish and heat through. Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Add the tomatoes and black pepper. Heat through and serve over the drained fettuccine. Great garnished with chopped parsley. Serves 4.