I love going to the Sydney Fish Market. I try and go every time I’m in town. I was in Emu Plains on Sunday, to visit family, and really had to make the 100km detour to pick up some fresh fish. Of course I wasn’t disappointed. I picked up some South Australian prawns and squid tubes that went into a creamy marinara sauce with some yellowfin kingfish offcuts from the carcass I bought for stock. I put it all together with some squid ink pasta I had in the cupboard for just such an occasion. I’ve also used the prawns in Penang style char kway teow, and will use the last of them in pad thai. I fried up some whitebait with a recipe inspired by my time in the Rwandan town of Gisenyi.
However, the pièce de résistance of my recent visit was a whole red snapper. It’s in the oven right now, stuffed with Thai aromats, wrapped in baking paper (for want of banana leaves). When it comes out, I’ll sprinkle on a few more goodies, before dousing it all with scorching hot macadamia oil for a final crisping. I’ll serve it with some steamed greens and coconut rice. I can’t wait.
|5||cm||length of lemongrass|
|2||kaffir lime leaves|
|1||cm||piece of ginger|
|1||tablespoon||equivalent, fresh coriander (including the roots)|
|1||small red chilli|
|1||tablespoon||macadamia or peanut oil|
Have the fishmonger clean your fish for you, but check it’s clear of scales when you get home. Bruise the lemongrass. Finely slice the kaffir lime leaves, garlic and ginger. Discard the root from your spring onion. Cut the white part away from the green of one of your spring onions. Reserve the green part, and remaining spring onion for later. Remove the roots of the coriander, and save the green parts for later. Trim any hairy roots from the coriander, and cut the roots down the middle.
Preheat the oven to 200oC. Fill the cavity of the fish with the coriander root, white parts of the spring onion, ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass. Wrap the fish in a piece of baking paper, folding the long edges on top of the fish. Fold the short edges into a point, and tuck the point underneath. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the coconut rice, combine the rice, water and coconut cream in a small lidded saucepan. Gently simmer over a medium heat with the lid on for about 15 minutes. When all the liquid is absorbed, check to see if the rice is tender and turn off the heat. If it’s not tender, add a tablespoon more of water and simmer until tender. Turn off the heat and rest with the lid on.
Transfer the wrapped fish to your serving plate and open the paper package. Slice the spring onion, coriander leaves and stems, and red chilli and arrange atop the fish. Heat the macadamia or peanut oil till smoking, and pour over the fish toppings. Serve immediately with the coconut rice and your favourite green vegetables.