A SUMMER OF SHELLFISH
FORGET PRAWNS –UP YOUR SEAFOOD LIKES OF LOBSTER, GAME WITH THE MARRON, CRAB AND MORE.
With a glorious bounty in Australia’s various oceans, bigger shellfish are pushing prawns aside for a rightful spot on the summer platter. “The diverse range and potential culinary experiences that other shellfish offer can change your life,” says award-winning chef Brent Savage, without a hint of overstatement. “There’s more fat and sweet meat in the larger shellfish. And a bit of effort delivers massive eating rewards.” Savage should know – having recently added the seafood-focused Cirrus to a Sydney stable that already boasts Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Monopole and Yellow. “The standout for me is the Moreton Bay bug – simply cut it in half with a cleaver and barbecue in the shell for a few minutes. Add a flavoured butter and you can do the same for lobster, yabbies and marron too. Just keep it simple.” Crabs, he adds, shouldn’t be a scary proposition. “I know they can appear confronting, but you’d be surprised how easy they are – and more rewarding than any other food. “We use mud crabs in the restaurant, and at home I love spanner crabs – a great size and with a wonderfully sweet flesh. I steam them whole, lift the lid from the tail and pick the meat for a salad, pasta or just to eat on its own. Again, it’s so simple and really amazing.” So, sink the claws in.
Acclaimed French chef Paul Bocuse named marron as one of the world's great tastes. And he's right – this native Australian freshwater crayfish a powerhouse that provides cleaner, sweeter flavour than lobster. Get to know the local fishmonger to secure some, or check the local markets – and always buy fresh. As for cooking, keep things simple by butterflying with butter and a searing grill, or take it up a notch as part of a pot roast. Alternatively, mix through a fresh salad.
THE BOOK THREE YEARS IN THE MAKING – WITH FOUR AUTHORS, ONE OF THEM GQ'S ANTHONY HUCKSTEP, WHO SAYS THE AIM WAS TO DELIVER SOMETHING THAT “CELEBRATED THE BOUNTY IN OUR WATERS BY PROFILING SPECIES AND DISCUSSING CULINARY APPLICATIONS, WHILE SHARING RECIPES TO GIVE PEOPLE CONFIDENCE… IT WAS A BONUS WHEN NEIL PERRY PUBLICLY CALLED IT THE ‘BIBLE OF SEAFOOD’.” AUSTRALIAN FISH & SEAFOOD COOKBOOK BY SUSMAN, HUCKSTEP, SWAN & HODGES; $79.99, MURDOCH BOOKS.