Catch of the day

An­thony Huck­step meets a del­i­cate yet feisty fish that’s a snap to fil­let. And the flavour? Best thing since sliced bread.

delicious - - CONTENTS - @huck­ster­gram @an­thuck­step

Garfish is the best thing since sliced bread in An­thony Huck­step’s world.

THE BEAK OR BILL is a fairly unique fa­cial fea­ture of our feath­ered friends, di­nosaurs and, of course, the platy­pus. But they’re not the only ones with a pro­trud­ing pecker.

Garfish, the slen­der, sil­ver dart of the sea, boasts a pen­cil-like beak full of tiny jagged teeth, used for fight­ing and sift­ing through sea­weed for a feed. And for its feisti­ness, garfish has earned the nick­name ‘needle­fish’. Han­dle with care when catch­ing them and you’ll be re­warded.

“There are a few species in Aus­tralia,” says John Sus­man of Seafood con­sul­tancy Fish­tales. “Most av­er­age 20-45cm in length and 100-300g, but can be big­ger. The most com­mon are South­ern Sea, Snub­nose, East­ern Sea, Short­nose and the Three-by-two garfish from Queens­land.”

But if you’re fos­sick­ing around the lo­cal fish mar­ket, you’re more likely to dis­cover East­ern Sea and South­ern Sea garfish – both fast-grow­ing, in abun­dance and found along most of Aus­tralia’s coast­line.

They are a prize catch for not only their stun­ning form, but the ease of fil­let­ing and su­perb eat­ing qual­i­ties. “Fil­leters in South Aus­tralia can fil­let and bone a garfish in two strokes of the knife,” says Sus­man. “One takes the back­bone and one rib cage out, the sec­ond cut takes the other rib cage out – per­fectly but­ter­flied.”

But it’s not only the ease of fil­let­ing, ac­cord­ing to Sus­man. “The fine pin bones are ed­i­ble, so once the back­bone and rib cage are re­moved, they are good to go in the fry­ing pan and down the hatch!”

Even so, the del­i­cate na­ture of this thin fish needs some at­ten­tion. Garfish can de­te­ri­o­rate quickly, so make sure they’re su­per fresh, fil­let be­fore us­ing and pay at­ten­tion when cook­ing. The opaque flesh cooks quickly to a snow white, but it’s just as spec­tac­u­lar as sashimi.

When cook­ing fil­lets, Sus­man sug­gests warm­ing fry­pan and but­ter first, then re­mov­ing the pan from di­rect heat and let­ting the fil­let warm through in the bub­bling but­ter. “I love them lightly dusted in flour and pan-fried in but­ter, then a squeeze of lemon and served be­tween two slices of Tip Top white slice smoth­ered with but­ter,” he says.

Search de­li­ for ‘garfish with sprout salad and cau­li­flower puree’

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