Below are some simple scalefish recipes which highlight the best ways to use Tasmanian seafood. You can also find fish handling and cooking tips on
Tas Fish Guide, our recreational fishing phone app.
Characteristics: Medium oil content. Good flavour. Firm white flesh when cooked, but beware of bones. Fillets, steaks, whole.
Cooking Method: Bake, barbecue, casserole, deep fry, grill, shallow fry, soup, steam.
6 cutlets from a medium-sized barracouta; plain flour; juice of ½ lemon; 60 grams butter; chopped parsley; salt and pepper.
Wash and dry the fish and place the slices side by side in an ovenproof dish. Mix the flour and seasoning together and sprinkle over the fish. Add lemon juice. Mix the butter and parsley and place in small pieces over the fish. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes, basting occasionally. Serve on a hot dish with the liquid strained over.
Characteristics: Low oil content. Mild delicate flavour. Fine, white moist flesh (tends to be soft after freezing). Fillets.
Cooking Method: Adapts readily to all cooking methods when fresh. Bake, barbecue, casserole, foil bake, grill, poach, shallow fry, smoke, soup, steam, steep.
Thai Fish Cakes
450g skinned blue grenadier fillets; de-seeded red chilli; a big splash of both fish sauce and lime juice; kaffir lime or young lemon leaves, cut finely; 1 egg, beaten; 1 tsp palm sugar; fresh coriander leaves, stalks and roots, chopped-half a bunch; 3 tsp of red curry paste; 1-2 tsp of finely chopped chilli; lemongrass; 100g green beans, thinly sliced; 2 spring onions, chopped; peanut oil for frying; 45g of rice flour, for dusting; sweet chilli sauce, for dipping.
Chop fish roughly in food processor. Add other ingredients except beans and coriander and process until well combined. Transfer to large bowl and stir in beans, onions and coriander. Shape the mixture into small fishcakes and roll in rice flour. Chill for a while. Heat the oil in a pan and shallow-fry the fishcakes until they are golden brown.
Quent's Wok-Fried Crispy Bream
2 x 285-400g black bream, sunflower oil, 2 good handfuls of Chinese greens (spinach, pak choi).
For the Thai dressing:
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoos sesame seed oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, a good pinch of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped, 1/2 clove garlic, finely sliced, 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced, 1 large handful each fresh coriander and basil, chopped.
For the dressing, put everything into a jam jar and shake. Slash the bream on both sides, 1cm deep, in a criss-cross fashion. In a pestle and mortar pound up the marinade ingredients and rub into the fish, getting it into the cuts and the belly. Let this sit for up to an hour.
Heat a wok with about 5 cm of sunflower oil. Remove the bream from the marinade and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dust each fish with flour, shaking off any excess. Then carefully place each fish into the wok and fry for three minutes on each side. The skin will go amazingly crispy. Steam the greens until tender. To serve, place the greens on a plate, put the fish on top, and drizzle with the Thai dressing. Great served with steamed jasmine rice as it soaks up any extra delicious marinade. Serves 2.
Pan Fried Boarfish
1 kg boarfish fillets; 3 cloves garlic, crushed; lime or lemon rind, finely chopped; ½ cup olive oil; salt and pepper; fresh thyme or other herb if preferred.
Mix ingredients together and marinate boarfish for 20 minutes. Preheat pan to hot, then add olive oil and sear boarfish for 2-3 minutes each side. Remove pan with boarfish in it and allow to stand in the oven or under foil for 3-5 minutes.
Cod and Spinach Bake
500g cod fillets; 300g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry; 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese; 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs; 1 egg, whisked; salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, mix the spinach, half the cheddar cheese, about 5 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs and the egg. Spread the mixture into the bottom of a small baking dish. Arrange the cod fillets on top of the spinach mixture and season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. Cover and bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven or until cod flakes easily with a fork.
Dory, Silver or Mirror
Characteristics: Low oil content. Excellent flavour. Firm white delicate flesh. Fillets or whole.
Cooking Method: Bake, shallow fry, grill, poach, steam.
2 whole dory; 4 tbsp butter; lemon juice; salt and pepper; chopped parsley.
Brush fish with butter, season with salt and pepper. Place fish on foil lined grill pan and cook under preheated grill for approximately 5 minutes on each side, basting frequently with butter and lemon juice. Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley.
Characteristics: Low oil content. Pleasant, medium flavour. Fine textured flesh, can be dry. Watch out for bones. Keeps well. Fillets, whole.
Cooking Method: Bake in foil, casserole, shallow or deep fry, marinate, poach, souse and steam.
Rock Flathead - Crusty Parmesan Flathead
¾ cup breadcrumbs; ¼ cup parmesan cheese (processed or fresh), grated; ¼ cup natural or Greek yoghurt; 500g flathead fillets; 1 ½ tbsp olive oil.
Combine parmesan and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Place yoghurt into a separate bowl and dip flathead fillets in to coat. Dip into breadcrumb mix, coating fish well. Heat oil to medium heat in a non-stick frying pan. Cook fish, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through.
Southern Bluespotted Flathead - Whole BBQ Flathead
Clean and gut the flathead. No need to skin or fillet! Place them on some foil, with butter, parsley and lemon or whatever you like in the cavity then wrap them up.
Put them on the barbeque, in the oven or under the grill and cook them till they are soft and the skin will peel off when properly cooked. The meat can be pulled off the bone easily, with very little wastage. A great way to stop this fish drying out and getting maximum meat return from your flathead.
Sand Flathead - Easy Cook Flatties
2 flathead fillets; 2 tbsp rice or plain flour; salt and pepper; 2 tbsp olive oil.
Place flour and salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Place fish fillets into bag and shake bag. Remove fillets dust off excess flour. Heat oil in a large frypan to medium heat. Place fish into pan, cook for 3 minutes then turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Beer Battered Flathead
500 grams flathead fillets; ½ cup flour; salt; 1 tbsp oil; ½ cup beer and 1 egg white; stiffly beaten.
Mix flour and salt, gradually add liquid and stir until smooth. Leave for 10-15 minutes. Gently fold in egg white. Dip flathead fillets lightly in flour before dipping in the batter. Heat oil to 180°C for deep frying or shallow fry in a wide pan.
Tiger Flathead - Rod’s Flathead Pizza
2 boneless flathead fillets; 1 pizza base (make or buy); ½ cup of basil pesto; red onion, sliced; other toppings and herbs of your choice; rocket or spinach; black pepper.
Cut the flathead fillets into strips about 1-2 cm wide and 5 cm long. Spread the pesto evenly over the pizza base. Place fish pieces so they radiate around the pizza. Spread all other toppings except rocket or spinach evenly over the pizza. Cook for the time and temperature specified for the pizza base. Place rocket or spinach on top 2 minutes before removing from oven. An alternative is to use a light cheese or yogurt for the base sauce. Try with other seafood such as scallops or squid.
Characteristics: Low oil content. Delicate flavour. Fine textured, firm flesh. Whole.
Cooking Method: Bake, barbecue, grill, shallow fry and poach.
Pan Fried Flounder with Almonds
2 whole flounder; flour; salt and pepper; 3 tbsp butter; 2 tbsp lemon juice; chopped parsley; ½ cup almond flakes.
Coat flounder in seasoned flour. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a pan and fry the flounder for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove to a dish, cover with foil and keep warm while you repeat this with the other fish. Add remaining butter and almonds to the pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the almonds turn golden and the butter turns brown. Add chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon over the fish.
Small rather bony species, very tasty. Bones easily removed by putting fish belly-side down on a board. Roll a rolling pin along the length of the spine several times then lift out bone structure. Can be filleted with practice.
Characteristics: Medium oil content. Delicate flavour. Fine textured, firm flesh. Whole.
Cooking Method: Bake, barbeque, casserole, deep fry, foil bake, shallow fry, souse.
12 garfish; 3 tbsp olive oil; 2 cups soft white breadcrumbs; 3 tbsp parsley, chopped; ½ lemon; 6 tbsp dry white wine; salt and black pepper.
Heat the olive oil and saute the breadcrumbs and parsley until oil is absorbed. Place half this mixture in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Rub the fish with the lemon and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on breadcrumbs in dish and top with remaining breadcrumbs. Bake in a moderate oven 180°C for 10 minutes then add the wine and cook a further 15 minutes.
Dorsal fins have very sharp spikes which can cause painful injuries. Be careful when handling whole fish.
Characteristics: Low oil content. Medium flavour. Firm white flesh. Fillets, whole.
Cooking Method: Bake, barbecue, casserole, deep fry, foil bake, grill, poach, shallow fry, souse, steam and steep.
Oven Baked Gurnard
1 whole gurnard, gilled, scaled and gutted, head may be removed; 1 small onion, sliced; 1 clove of garlic, diced; 1 lemon, one half quartered, the other sliced; 2 small tomatoes, quartered; bay leaf (optional); pepper; 1 tbsp of butter ; 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter for cooking.
Place all ingredients except the slices of lemon slices, butter and pepper in the gut cavity. Slightly score the fish along the back and spread butter with lemon slices along the back of the fish. Wrap in foil or place in baking dish in an oven at 180 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.
This is a great way of utilising a fish that tends not to be favoured by many Tasmanian recreational fishers. Baking these fish makes it very easy to peel off the cooked fillet with a flat spatula and they are very tasty.
Red Gurnard and Bacon Bake
8 small or 4 large gurnard fillets; 750g sliced potato (½ cm thick and parboiled for 3 minutes); 2 tbsp butter; 4 rashers bacon, rind removed; 2 tbsp parsley, chopped; 250g tomatoes sliced; salt and black pepper.
Line bottom of well greased ovenproof dish with layers of potato. Dot with butter and bake in a moderate oven (180°C) for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange tomato slices over potato, sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley. Place fillets on top, with a bacon rasher on top of each fillet. Replace in the oven and bake a further 20-25 minutes until fish is cooked. Serve hot with vegetables.