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Do you have a good seafood cookbook? Go Fish!

Category: Recipes,Seafood,Reviews  |  Post by: Andrea Wong
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Fresh Kahawai with Chargrilled Zucchini, Beetroot & Black Olive Vinaigrette. Go Fish - Al Brown.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that we have an incredible variety of seafood in our waters. Wandering through the local fish shop or supermarket, you see the same old fish and it is not at all representative of what can be caught and eaten. I guess this is where the recreational fisherman can have some fun and experiment other varieties.

Go Fish - Al BrownGo Fish, by Al Brown, is a book for those who like to fish and like to cook their catch. He shares some of his passion for fishing with us, through stories about his fishing memories and exciting recipes.

Go Fish is well thought-out and is a useful guide for fishermen of all levels. The cover opens out into a handy poster of illustrations of most of the species available to the recreational fisherman. Inside the front cover is a cute little surprise. Called the fortune-telling fish, it's a little fish-shaped piece of cellophane that when placed on your hand, twists and curls around. How it moves will determine your fortune. Fun for kids of all ages!

What I like about this book is that Al recognises that we could be eating a wider variety of fish that can be found in the waters around the country. His underlying message is to try different species, fish only for what you need and don't waste anything. "I am adamant that too often we take more fish than necessary." We do need to take care of our fish stocks, to make sure that we keep the biodiversity healthy and ensure that we can all enjoy seafood from our own waters for generations to come.

Go Fish explains how to prepare freshly caught seafood, teaching us techniques like how to deal to a whole fresh squid, how to shuck a paua and how to fillet a skate. Al then shares a multitude of recipes with us, covering crustaceans, shellfish and fin fish and it includes exciting-sounding dishes like Oysters on Ice with Chardonnay Vinegar and Chilli Jelly. A section containing recipes for accompaniments and stocks help to reinforce Al's head-to-tail philosophy of not wasting any part of the catch. Did you know that the cheek of a fish is considered to be the most tender part of this fish?

What I take from Go Fish is that we should be trying some different kinds of seafood and remember to take only what we need, don't be wasteful or greedy. Enjoy our kaimoana, experiment and try some new flavours. Get out there and go fish!

Go Fish is published by Random House New Zealand. © 2009 text Al Brown, photos Kieran Scott.

Fresh Kahawai with Chargrilled Zucchini, Beetroot & Black Olive Vinaigrette

Serves 6 as a main course

Fresh kahawai, iki'd and bled immediately upon capture, is perfect for this dish. It has a great taste and the medium-textured flesh works well with the biggish flavours. With the natural sweetness of beetroot, coupled with the saltiness of the black olive vinaigrette, there's plenty going on here. I also love the combination of warm fish served on the cool, slightly sharp salad.

Step 1: To Prepare the Beetroot
1kg beetroot, skin on
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup malt vinegar

Step 2: Black Olive Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
150ml olive oil
1/2 cup good-quality black olives, stones removed and cut into slivers
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
freshly ground black pepper

Step 3: Chargrilled Zucchini
6 small to medium zucchini
olive oil for grilling
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Step 4: To Cook and Serve
6 x 150g fresh kahawai fillets
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: To Prepare the Beetroot
In a suitable saucepan, place the beetroot, sugar and vinegar. Cover with cold water and place on high heat. Bring up to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until soft through the centre (about 1 hour).

Once cooked, run under cold water for a minute or so, then peel off the skin. Refrigerate until required.

Step 2: Black Olive Vinaigrette
In a medium bowl, place the vinegar, shallots and sugar. Whisk together, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking until incorporated. Fold in the black olives and mint, and season with a good couple of grinds of black pepper. Refrigerate until serving.

Step 3: Chargrilled Zucchini
Heat the chargrill (or a griddle top or skillet). Slice the zucchini on an angle into rounds about 1cm thick. Place in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

Cook on a hot chargrill for a couple of minutes on each side until golden and slightly charred. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Step 4: To Cook and Serve
Heat the flat top of the barbecue or place a skillet or frying pan on medium-high heat. Season the kahawai and cook until golden on each side and just cooked through.

While the fish is cooking, slice the beetroot into 5mm-thick rounds. Place on a platter if serving family style or put 4-5 rounds on each serving plate.

Carefully place the chargrilled zucchini in a large bowl, then spoon some of the olive vinaigrette over and toss to coat. Place this on the beetroot, then top with the kahawai. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over the fish and serve pronto.

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  • 01/12/2009 9:28 p.m.

    Kahawai is so under-rated, bleed it as soon as it is caught and it has the most d'lish flavour. I am going to try this recipe