Welcome in the Year of the Rabbit with your own Asian-inspired steamed whole Aquna recipe created by superstar chef Josh Niland. Plus, First, what’s the symbolism behind steamed whole fish?
Even fish lovers fear cooking with a whole fish. Many of us have lost the skill (and will) to break down and cook a whole fish. In the article, you’ll meet chef and restaurateur Alessandro Pavoni, who owns three Sydney eateries: Ormeggio at The Spit, Chiosco by Ormeggio, and a’Mare.
Earlier this year, Alessandro cooked a whole Aquna Murray Cod recipe (see below) at a Sydney Seafood School masterclass. If you’re curious to know how and why to cook a whole fish, Alessandro shares his thoughts in this Q&A, along with the reasons he hand-picks Aquna.
A. Freshness and consistency are the main two factors. Sustainability is super important for seafood — and quality across all ingredients!
A. Consistency , high quality, freshness — Aquna Murray cod really ticks all my boxes.
A. I love Aquna Murray Cod. It’s such a clean fish and never tastes muddy. I particularly love the texture.
A. I believe cooking a whole fish — skin,bones and all — gives it such a better flavour. You retain better moisture. The delicate flesh of the fish is protected because it is cooked on the bone — it takes flavour too. Cooking in salt crust is the purest way of cooking. Inside the chamber, created by the salt, the heat creates steam with the moisture of the fish and infuses with the flavour of the salt. It’s protected from the high heat. You can infuse it with other flavours such as lemon or herbs. It’s delicate yet robust in flavour, and so rewarding when you cut it open.
80g macadamia nuts
1 whole preserved lemon
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1. Toast the macadamia until golden in the oven, allow to cool, cut each one into 4 pieces.
2. Wash and clean the pulp off the preserved lemon skins and discard, cut the skins in 5mm cubes.
3. Mix lemon, macadamia and olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
1. Pre-heat over to 180°C
2. Make salt mix: whip 180g egg white until firm, add salt and combine.
3. Brush the flesh side of the cod fillets with oil and sandwich together, skin facing
4. Place half of the salt mix onto a papered baking tray. Lay the half the lemon leaves
onto the salt mix underneath the cod fillets, then cover with the remaining lemon
leaves and the rest of the salt mix.
5. Bake for 18 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes.
7. Break away salt crust and remove skin and lemon leaves.
8. Plate fish with macadam dressing over the top.
9. Serve with green salad