Cook your fish perfectly this Good Friday with The Fish House
So we quizzed the team at The Fish House. Because as one of Australia’s top seafood restaurants, they’ve got some solid intel to share. From what to look for when choosing fillets, which cooking fat to use and the utensils to employ. Think of it as ‘Fish 101’.
You might have heard of The Fish House? Or if not, chances are you soon will. It’s the Gold Coast restaurant that at just two years of age, is giving the rest of the Australia’s long ingrained, seafood centric establishments a real run for their money.
You’ll find this newly cemented institution residing in a renovated beach shack across from Burleigh beach – notably a suburb of the Gold Coast that really throws the ‘So GC’ discourse to the side. And replaces the fake tan and gold chains with green hued and somewhat Byron Bay-esque vibes.
The Fish House books out weeks in advance, and particularly for those highly prized weekend seatings. On a Sunday don’t be surprised to hear that others have driven for two hours seeking a long lunch at The Fish House. For the time spent commuting is far surpassed by the experience.
It’s demand that’s not solely driven by the impressive views that spans across the ocean and long stretch of golden hued sand. Sure, they make for one highly pleasing locale, but it’s the produce and its execution that’s very much the main contributor for the restaurant’s somewhat ‘cult’ like status.
The expansive menu reads like an ode to the Australian ocean. The fare is pared back and pure, because owner Simon Gloftis and his team see it as their ‘job’ to serve the best available seafood and not ‘mess’ with it too much.
Which, owing to this premise and their glowing (and growing reputation), makes them one of the top kitchens to quiz on the ‘101 of cooking fish’. Because, when it comes to kitchen confidence, fish is often the one protein, we all wish we A). Either knew how to cook or B). could cook a little better. We asked their team, lead in the kitchen by Mike Watts on it all – from what to look for when choosing fillets, the cooking fat to use and utensils to employ.
PP: When purchasing fish, what do you need to look for? Often we’re not buying the full fish so can’t look to see if the eyes are clear… What indicates a good fillet?
TFH: Definitely colour. Make sure the flesh is still vibrant, glistening and full of colour, not discoloured or dry. If the flesh is pale or pasty it might mean it’s a few days old.
PP: Fish often gets a reputation for being tricky to cook, with many noting it as their Achilles’ heel in the kitchen. Why do you think this is?
TFH: Fish is the most delicate protein to work with and needs to be handled with love. Having more confidence and experience working with and handling fish will make cooking with it simpler and less time consuming.
PP: What are some fish faux pas?
TFH: Fish sticking to the pan or overcooking.
PP: Is it best to cook the fish straight from the fridge, or let it come to room temperature a little? Oil or butter as the cooking fat?
TFH: Depends on the fish. If it is an oily fish bring it up to room temperature, but not completely as you still want the fish to be a little rare inside. Less oily fish it is best to take the fridge chill off the fish. Use oil to cook with and butter to finish.
PP: Does the cooking method depend upon the type of fish? What types suit pan frying, grilling or are better baked?
TFH: All fish can be cooked using any method and it does depend on the persons liking. I prefer the more oily fish to be pan fried or roasted and the others baked, braised or steamed. It also depends on the size or type of the fish. Grilling or pan frying is best for a flat, fast cooking fillet /fish. Baking is better for thicker, denser fish/fillets.
PP: Best utensils to turn and transfer the fillet? And best pan/oven tray?
TFH: Definitely need a good fish spatula or pallet knife – they cost about $20 from a chef shop and will be the best thing you will ever buy for everyday cooking. It is best to use a heavy based pan or tray.
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