Cape Catastrophe King George Whiting

Cape Catastrophe King George Whiting is line caught whiting caught of the coast line, shoals and inlets of far west Eyre Penisula, Port Lincoln way South Australia.  Cape Catastrophe is just one of the headlands jutting into the Southern Ocean outside of the protected waters of Boston Bay and the boat harbour of Port Lincoln.

Many people would say, that it is definitely true, that King George Whiting is not only the King of the Whiting but king of all the fishes, when it comes to eating pleasure.  A finer flaked fish you will never find.  It also has an extremely low oil content.

Like all Wild South Seafood fishes from the Southern Ocean, King George Whiting is under sustainable stock management.  It is mostly considered an excellent sustainable choice on the basis it is line caught.  Line caught fish in Australia, particularly King George, are significantly more expensive than other fish.  This is both because it is such a premium and sought after fish, and also because line caught (which is not long lining) means smaller catch capacity.

Southern Ocean Deep Sea Flathead

Flathead, so named for their (very) flatheads, are (like all bass strait to plate fishes) wild caught, mainly by trawl on the continental shelf (in our case the bit that juts into the Bass Strait).  Southern Ocean Deep Sea flat head are endemic to Australia.  Meaning if you see a deep sea flat head that is not product of Australia, it’s probably not flathead. 

Flathead has a low oil content which results in fine, flaked flesh.  Low oil content also means it is a very ‘non fishy’ tasting fish. Or as the chef people might like to say “a delicate fish”.

Flathead is so fabulous that you can pretty much cook any fish meal you like with it.  However, it is a firm favourite in the battered, crumbed and grilled chef options because of that delicate flesh.  That means that baking it is not a great option (you may dry it out) and whacking it in a curry may do it a disservice.  If you are aspiring to the next season of master chef, or have already won season 2 – knock your socks off and do what you like with it – you’ll love it!

Neptune Island Nannygai - Red Snapper

This may be the most renamed fish in the Southern Ocean.  Fortunately, all those names do have one thing in common.  They are naming the same fish (something that cannot often be said about imported fishes carrying multiple names).

Red Snapper, Golden Snapper, Red Bight Fish, Nannygai are so named for their beautiful red skin (possibly more pink hued to some colourists). 

The red snapper in the Wild South Seafood packages is line caught, by actual handline.   It is killed by the ancient Japanese technique of Iki jime.

Iki jime is a method for inserting a spike into the fish’s brain, killing it instantly.  This ensures that the fish does not produce lactic acid,  which would otherwise make the flesh taste sour.

Red Snapper, or Bight Fish, is also caught by deep sea trawl.  However, we do not include trawled Red Snapper in our product line as it decreases significantly in quality.  This is because snapper in particular, unlike other deep sea trawl fishes such as flathead which do retain their quality, is a soft fleshed fish, with a slighter higher oil content, and so is more susceptible to the increased handling involved with deep sea trawled fishes.

Red Snapper has firm, slightly oily white flesh that can withstand cubing, cutting and dicing.  It can also look gorgeous pan-fried with that red skin still on (so long as there is enough butter and heat involved for lovely crispy skin). Baking it in the oven with a crust of something herby or nutty suits its fat slightly oily fillets perfectly.  Even the amateur chef will have a hard time drying it out.

Another benefit of snap frozen at the source Australian fish fillets is that, because you only defrost them when you are ready to eat them, if you are up for cutting and dicing of your fish fillets, you can do so when they are still slightly frozen.  Like the best sushi chefs do.  It allows you to have fine knife skills even if you haven’t quite worked out how to sharpen your knives like a samurai on a naked steel!

Spencer Gulf King Prawns

I have included Spencer Gulf King Prawns in the Wild South Seafood line because one of my earliest childhood memories was going crabbing with my Grandma off the jetty at Franklin Harbour.  It was this jetty that the Spencer Gulf prawn fleet use to pull up at.  These days they are all running out of Boston Bay and Port Lincoln just down the coast and round the corner a bit. 

The Spencer Gulf prawn fishery is one of the best managed fisheries in Australia.  The Spencer Gulf prawn fishery is MSC certified, which is kind of equivalent to the heart foundation tick for sustainability.  It is good if you have it, but we should not necessarily judge those that don't as ipso facto bad.

The Spencer Gulf Prawn people have also known for quite some time that the best way to treat seafood that otherwise has a particularly short shelf life and is susceptible to toxins, is to snap freeze it at the source.  All Spencer Gulf Prawns are frozen at the source and have been for a long time.  Good on you Spencer Gulf for keepin' it fresh best!

The other reason I have included them - I just really really love prawns.  Simple, green (uncooked/raw) really fresh prawns that have not been 'defrosted for my convenience' but rather are still frozen when I buy them so I can decide when is convenient.

Discovery Bay Pipi

Discovery Bay Pipi are hand harvested in the intertidal zone of Discovery Bay.  Discovery Bay is in the remote South West of Victoria.  It is adjacent to the Bass Strait.  It is also mostly adjacent to the Discovery Bay Coastal Park National Park.  This means the intertidal zone water where the pipi are harvested is some of the cleanest water you can possibly imagine any where it the world.  You should also know that it’s my Dad who hand harvests the pipis- so he only picks the best spots and the best pipi.  Pipi are also a fantastically sustainable seafood.  Pipi have very short life cycles, because there are hand harvested there is zero by-catch, and they are under sustainable stock management.

Pipi might be a bit confronting for some people.  However, once you give them a bit of a go you will find they are super easy to cook and deal with (and I would not necessarily say the same things about all shellfish - I don’t really recommend shucking your own oysters if you are not an expert…..).  You really just have to rinse them, and then throw them into any old pot and put the lid on and wait til they open up.  You will also find that suddenly, a proper marina is something that you can aspire to in 5 minutes flat.  Well except for the cooking of the actual pasta.