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Seafood Tips from Traders

Every Market day you’ll find rows of delicious, fresh seafood filling the windows of our fishmongers; Claringbold’s Quality Seafood, Prahran Seafoods and Periwinkle Fine Seafood. Our fishmongers are experts, so we asked them for some tips to help you prepare your next seafood meal.

What should you look for when buying seafood?

Fresh is best when it comes to buying fish and Nicole from Claringbold’s advises “the first thing to look at is the eyes. Check they are clear, bright and not sunken or cloudy. The skin should be shiny, and the fins clearly defined. The gills should be moist, shiny and pink. Avoid fish that has brown or faded gills as it’s not at its best.”

Ting at Periwinkles agrees that “you can tell when a fish is fresh by its appearance, but feel free to ask us for advice if you are unsure. I also recommend not feeling you have to stick to the specified fish in a recipe if there’s a similar textured or flavoured fish that is fresher in the store, as you will get better results.”

But what about buying shellfish? “I recommend buying shellfish from your local market,” says Peter at Prahran Seafoods. “As we have such a high turnover of stock, you are sure to be getting fresh shellfish.

“The shells on mussels, clams and oysters should be closed. Mussels and clams sometimes open a little but a small tap on the shell will usually close them back up. While it is usually hard to smell the produce at the Market, they should smell like the ocean.”

What seafood is good for beginners?

If you are a novice at eating seafood, never fear. The best tasting fish for beginners is a mild, white fish, and Nicole advises on some varieties that have a delicate flavour and texture.

“Cod, flounder, and ling are great for those who haven’t eaten much seafood and are unsure of the flavour.

“There are plenty of simple recipes to try, and the best thing about seafood is that you can let the produce do the talking. Buy the best quality fish you can and cook it simply – you can just bake it in the oven in tin foil or greaseproof paper with a squeeze of lemon to create a delicious, healthy meal.”

How to cook fish

There are plenty of ways to cook fish, from slow cooking to baked, pan-fried to steamed and poaching. You can keep it super simple for an easy weeknight dinner or go all out for a gathering.

A fish fillet is perfect for pan-frying, searing in the flavour and making for a crispy skin, while a whole fish is great baked. Some shellfish such as prawns and scallops take no time at all to cook, so keep the cooking until the moment before serving.

“I usually roast or BBQ my fish”, says Peter. “I just put some salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and thyme on before cooking. When cooked, I drizzle a mix of olive oil and lemon juice over.

“Another great way to cook fish is on skewers with vegetables. You can do pieces of just one fish or mix it up with fish, prawns and scallops for a delicious light meal. This is a great option for those that don’t eat fish often, as you’re not serving up a whole fillet of fish for them to eat.”

What is the best seafood for entertaining?

If entertaining with seafood, your choice of what to serve may depend on your experience of preparing the dish. Here’s a few favourite dish ideas from our fishmongers.

“When looking to impress, a seafood platter is always a great choice,” says Ting. “You can have a whole lobster as a centrepiece and then oysters, tiger prawns, crab and smoked salmon scattered around. By serving a cold platter, you don’t need to worry about timings and everything can be prepared early, so you can enjoy being with your friends and family.”

Peter agrees a centrepiece is essential when entertaining. “If you don’t want to serve shellfish at your gathering, a great alternative is a whole salmon. You can roast it or make a gravlax, and everyone is sure to enjoy devouring it.

“You can use a whole or side of many different kids of fish, such as kingfish, snapper and blue eye when entertaining, and it’s so easy to just cut slices off for your guests.”

Try something different with your seafood

Whilst it’s a go-to for many, try to venture away from the classic fish and chips combo! While French fries are delicious with almost any fish, you can accompany your seafood with a wide array of other ingredients and dishes.

Try a rice pilaf, grilled vegetable skewers, cauliflower cheese, a seasonal salad, grilled fruits, or coleslaw as a side.

Sauces that go well with fish include a creamy tartare, dill sauce, simple lemon dressing, fresh herb sauce or beurre blanc. Don’t be afraid to ask your fishmonger for ideas!

What are the benefits of eating seafood?¹

Seafood has plenty of health benefits being full of nutrients such as quality protein, iodine and many vitamins and minerals. Fatty fish are often considered to be the healthiest, as they contain more fat-based nutrients such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Examples of fatty fish are salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and mackerel.

Looking for seafood recipes? There are plenty on the Prahran Market website here.

P.S If you love seafood as much as we do, why not come to our weekend Seafood Sessions? Running every Saturday and Sunday in February, our Plenty of Fish in the Sea series will be full of tasty seafood bites and delicious drinks.

¹https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-health-benefits-of-fish

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