Lately I have taken on experimenting with various varieties of fresh fish available in the Victoria Market here in Melbourne. Have I told you about this market earlier?? I think no, and even if I have, please bear with me again coz I just love that market!!! Its like a gold mine for foodies like us…you get everything….from Indian veggies like Karela or bitter gourd, to Southeast Asian fruits like Durian, to the Latin American Tamarillo…you really get everything there…and that’s not just the fresh fruits and veggies am talking about!! There is also an exhaustive Deli section with a lovely spread of cured meats, cheese and chocolatiers; a Meat wing where one can buy crocodile meat to quail & rabbit meat; and last but not the least a Seafood section where numerous varieties of fresh fish, molluscs and crustaceans are available!!
Trust me, this is THE place to be for foodies who love to cook and try out new things. Since Niloy and I are totally adventurous when it comes to food, we have tried out many new things…since I had experimented with many things during my stay in Germany and South Africa, it was easier for me to buy them here and cook them as well. I can happily say that now our normal day to day food does not have the Indian daal chawal roti sabji fare…instead it consists of things like oyster mushrooms, silverbeet, celery, leeks, shitake mushrooms, sausages, hams, cured meats and cheese…recently we have started our fishy encounters 😀 (how can we ignore our Bengali pheeshy blood?). These days fish varieties like snapper, silver whiting, trouts, salmon and trevally find their way to our dinner table (and we are planning to try out John Dory and Flounder next). Hence today’s post is about the fish recipes that I have cooked in the last weeks. We don’t get these varieties in India, but pomfret, prawns or any other boneless fish steaks can be used to replace these. I derived the concept of baking the fish in a parchment paper bag from the classical French dish, ‘Fish en Papillote’. It is made by placing a fish steak or whole fish with herbs, lemon, butter and other seasoning in parchment paper which is then sealed from all edges and baked. One can even use foil instead of paper.
Grilled Snapper with Chermoula
Whole Red Baby Snapper (about 700 gms for 2 people)
1/2 cup Chermoula Marinade
Lemon slices 3-4
Lemon Juice (don’t discard the pieces after you have squeezed out the juice coz we will use it)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Make deep diagonal cuts on one side of the fish and generously marinate it with chermoula, lemon juice, salt and pepper (note that the chermoula already has salt, so season accordingly). Stuff the squeezed lemon pieces in the belly of the fish. This gives a delicate aroma to the fish. Let the fish rest in the marinade for 1-4 hours depending on how deep you want the flavor to seep in the fish (a few days back I was watching Marco Pierre White on Masterchef Professional, Australia where he said the marinade should not overpower the flavor of the fish…but I would say the marinade must be done to order…coz many Indians dislike the distinct sea fish flavor and can be put off by its smell. For such people I think a longer marinade with deeper flavors serves well, what say?). Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius and then lower the temperature to 180. In a heavy roasting pan or oven-proof stone dish, place some foil or baking parchment. Discard the lemon pieces from the belly, loosely join the edges of the foil/paper to make a long bag that has the fish and bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your fish). You can also check the fish by poking in a sharp knife or a thin skewer. I opened the foil after 20 minutes, placed some lemon slices on top and changed the oven to grill setting to get a charred/smokey flavor. If you don’t do this, you would get a lovely steamed fish which also tastes wonderful!! Serve hot with roasted veggies, herbed potatoes and fresh salads.
Grilled Trout With Butter, Dill and Lemon
Whole Rainbow Trout (about 700 gms for 2 people)
A fistful of Dill (what we call soa in Hindi)
50 ml Lemon Juice (retain the lemon rinds)
Salt and pepper
Follow the above mentioned steps again, except that this time once the fish is done, instead of placing lemon slices on it and grilling further, place some butter slices on it…that just takes the taste of dill and lemon to another level!!! 😀 Serve hot with lemon wedges, roasted veggies and potatoes.
Pan-Fried Trout With Asparagus, Butter, Parsley and Lemon
Whole Trout (about 600 gms is good for 2 people)
2 Bunches of Green Asparagus
Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Veggies
A fistful of Parsley
2-3 cloves of Garlic
2-3 Tbsp Butter
Marinade the fish with finely chopped parsley, bruised garlic (lightly crushed), lemon, salt and pepper for 1-4 hours. Take vegetables of choice (potatoes, mushrooms, peas, carrots, parsnips, broccoli, etc.), drizzle olive oil and mix them with 2 grated cloves of garlic, 2-3 tbsp of rosemary and salt-pepper. Grill these in the oven till cooked and slightly charred. While the veggies cook, take a medium sized pan, heat some butter and place the fish in it. Sear it on medium to high flame for 4 minutes on each side. Clean and cut the asparagus into long sticks and place them in the left-over space of the pan. Cover the whole thing for 4-5 mins on medium flame. Again, increase the flame till the residual water evaporates and every thing turns crispy yet juicy. Serve hot with the veggies and the asparagus!
The next time I will try making these fish with Indian spices and herbs like Kasoori Methi…..am sure they would turn out equally lovely, just like your Masala Pomfret didi! By the way, I miss your recipes Didi…when would be get to drool over some amazing pics of your recipes?? Hopefully soon!
Take care you all,
Lots of love,