So, on a sunny Spring Sunday, Country Frog slipped down to the seashore to visit the seafood store, stopping to see the seagulls at Scarborough boat harbour where the fishing boats pull in with the fresh catch.
Serve with crusty bread, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. No need to mess around with fancy dressings – let the fresh produce shine all on its own.
SIMPLE POACHED WHOLE FISH
There is no simpler way to cook fresh whole fish.
Time: 5 minutes preparation; 10 minutes cooking; 5 minutes resting.
You will need: Large stovetop frying pan with lid; egg lifter
1kg(ish) fresh whole white-fleshed fish such as snapper or squire (young snapper), gutted and scaled
Juice of 1 fresh lemon, and slices of lemon skin
½ teaspoon salt
½ - 1 cup water
1. Heat water, juice, sliced lemon skin and salt in pan until simmering. Lower the fish into the liquid, return to a slow boil and cook five minutes with lid on.
2. Carefully turn fish using egg lifter. Cook covered further five minutes, with lid on.
3. Turn the heat off and leave fish undisturbed in hot liquor for further five minutes.
To serve: Turn the fish again, very carefully and lift the fillet from the back bone in one piece. Lift away the bone, and serve the second fillet. Eat piping hot with salad, salt and pepper.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS – This makes a lovely light seafood dish to serve with fluffy white rice.
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 stick celery cut into fine strips
1 small carrot cut into fine strips
3 – 4 whole green prawns per person
fresh herbs to taste (basil, parsley or coriander)
1. Add onion, celery and carrot to cold poaching liquor, as above, and bring to boil.
2. Cook fish on one side, as above, then after turning, add green prawns and herbs to the pan. Increase the heat to keep the liquor at a slow boil. Cook for further five minutes, and rest five minutes.
3. Serve fish, prawns and vegetables onto a bed of rice, adding a little of the seafood stock as sauce/juice to moisten the rice.
Tip: Leftover rice can be added to leftover liquor. In a small saucepan, simmer 15 minutes with extra vegetables to make an excellent fishy congee (rice soup).
Back home on the farm, inspired by fish galore at the market, I found a couple of interestingly shaped stumps in the wood pile and painted them up to be outdoor coffee/beer tables. You’ve just gotta smile when you see a happy fish!
Next: More spring-season seafood – octopus and mussels