Recipes & Tips

Australians are eating more and more seafood each year, but many of us still know less about buying and storing fish and shellfish than we do about other foods. This page gives general information on purchasing fresh and frozen seafood and how to store and prepare it.

There are many ways to cook seafood – and almost all are quick and easy. Although seafood may appear expensive when compared with other foods, it should be noted that you do not need as much for a meal as you would with beef or lamb. This is particularly true if the seafood is part of a dish served with rice, noodles or spaghetti. You should buy the type of seafood appropriate to the meal planned. For example, only buy cooked shellfish if you intend to eat them without further cooking, otherwise buy the animals uncooked because double cooking only toughens the flesh.

Seafood requires shorter cooking times than beef, lamb or chicken, and because most species of seafood have a low fat and high water content they can easily be overcooked. Overcooking dries out and toughens seafood and destroys much of the flavour. Extra care must be taken not to overcook non-fatty seafood such as lean fish, scallops and lobsters, particularly if it is being grilled or barbecued. Fish is cooked when the flesh is white and the flakes separate easily when opened with a fork.

Most seafood can be prepared in varied and interesting ways. For instance, it can be steamed whole, poached, baked, barbecued, grilled or fried. It can be eaten raw (usually marinated) or cooked with different spices or sauces according to individual taste.

Simple Cooking Tips

For maximum Omega oil benefits and full moist flavour, it should still be translucent in the centre when taking away from heat.

To test if fish is cooked, gently push a fork into it. If it flakes easily and has lost its opaque look, it is cooked. On whole fish, flesh should not adhere to backbone when forked backward.

Cooking Time in Minutes – Guide only

Fish
Thickness

Baking

Shallow
Frying

Grilling
/ BBQ

Poaching

Steaming

Microwave

1cm

8

4

5

3

3

3

2cm

11

7

6

5

5

4

3cm

15

10

9

7

8

5

Whole per 500 gms

9

10

10

5

5

5

For maximum Omega oil benefits and full moist flavour, it should still be translucent in the centre when taking away from heat.

  • Keep seafood chilled at all times
  • Do not freeze chilled fish at home, buy fish that is commercially fast frozen
  • Portions per person -Whole Fish 275 – 350gm, Fish Fillets 150 – 180gm
  • Thaw seafood in the refrigerator or in slow cold water sealed in bag.

Grilling
Fillets or whole fish should be dry for grilling. Cover griller with foil. Brush oil, butter, lemon juice or white wine into fish or use a marinade or spice rub. Whole fish may be cut with 2 or 3 diagonal cuts to allow heat penetration – Plate size fish is best size suited for grilling.
You do not need to turn thin fillets such as Whiting but fillets thicker than 1 cm and whole fish need to be cooked on both sides.
Frying
Pan Frying – Lightly floured or spiced fish only needs a direct brush of canola or olive oil or just a few drops spread in the pan. This is the healthiest way to fry or stir fry.
Shallow Frying – Crumbed or heavily coated seafood is best shallow fried in a non stick pan with approximately 1 to 2 cm of canola oil. Oil should be 170 – 180°C but do not overheat to smoking point.
Deep Frying – Use a heavy based pan and heat oil to 170 – 180°C but do not overheat to smoking point. You may deep fry fish by dipping in beaten egg or milk and then coat with flour or bread crumbs or use a batter.
Baking
Baking is suitable for whole fish, thick fillets or cutlets.
Place fish in an ovenproof dish and pour in liquid such as fish stock, wine and water.
Add flavourings such as herbs, chopped onion, diced ripe tomatoes and even black olives for a Mediterranean edge.

Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes.
Barbecue
Place whole fish or fillets on foil and add flavourings such as wine, herbs, chopped onion, sliced tomato, sliced lemon and sprinkle oil.
Wrap foil as a parcel and place on BBQ, turn fish once until cooked.
Microwave
Microwaving is suitable for whole fish, thick fillets and cutlets.
Fish cooks well in a microwave but the cooking time depends on the quantity being cooked and the power level of the oven. Place fish in a microwave proof dish in single layers, thicker parts on the outside, and cover.
It will take only a few minutes to cook so frequently check to make sure it is not overcooking.
Flesh should still be slightly translucent in the centre when taken away from heat.