Food and Drink

   

In Season: Gemfish

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Gemfish is great for cooking at home – thick white fillets that are delicate in flavour, this flexible fish can be grilled, baked or fried. It’s around at the moment, sporadically, and at very good prices.

Catches have recently fallen dramatically through over-fishing and Gemfish was on the endangered list for awhile, but more sustainable fishing practices are seeing it coming back into shops, and when available it’s very affordable. This is because chefs don’t like it, so we’re not competing with restaurants, and that’s because if you cook Gemfish just bit too long the flesh contracts and opens up, releasing all its juices. But at home we have more time to keep a closer eye on it.

Crumbed fish has that lovely crispy texture we like so much, and here’s a way to prepare it without smelling out the kitchen and spattering the stove with oil.

Herbed Butter-crumbed Gemfish:
4 Gemfish portions
1 cup dried bread crumbs (try the Japanese ‘panko’ crumbs)
½ cup of plain flour
150g melted butter
1 tsp chopped lemon thyme (regular thyme will do, but add grated zest of ½ a lemon)
1 tb chopped parsley (or chervil, or both)
1 tb finely chopped chives

Preheat your oven to about 180°C.
– Place your flour in a bowl, melted butter in another and crumbs mixed with the herbs in a third.
– Season the fish lightly, then coat in the flour, shaking off any excess.
– Coat with melted butter, working quickly before the butter hardens on the cold fish pieces, and coat in the herbed crumbs.
– Place on an oven tray, and cook in the oven until the flesh is white all the way through (this is not one of those ‘fatty’ fish like tuna or Atlantic salmon that should be served underdone).
– This dish is great with hollandaise (more butter), or tartare sauce. But make your own, using egg mayonnaise, plus chopped dill-cucumber, capers, parsley and lemon juice.

By the way, if you want to check for yourself the ethics of using Gemfish, the sustainable seafood website link is www.sustainableseafood.org.au/Sustainable-Seafood-Guide-Australia.asp?active_page_id=695


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