Sunday, February 6, 2011

Steamed Whole Pearl Perch with Chilli Cucumber Salad

Pearl Perch is regarded as one of the best tasting fish in the ocean, it's flesh is beautifully white, it is always tender and it has a delicate flavour.  Pearl Perch (also known as a Pearlie or Pearly) are found in small schools on deeper offshore reefs  between about Rockhampton in Qld and Port Macquarie in NSW.

Fish Pearlies with medium to heavy tackle and most fishos recommend that the best baits for catching Pearl Perch are pilchards (pillies), squid, octopus, prawns and small live bait. 

This week we have one of the best whole Pearl Pearch Recipes we've tried, courtesy of the Sydney Fish Market.

Recipe Serves 2
1 x 800g Pearl Perch, scaled, gilled and gutted
¼ cup coriander leaves
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Steamed snowpeas or sugar snap peas, topped and tailed, to serve
Chilli Cucumber Salad
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar
2 limes, juiced
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and finely sliced
2 golden shallots, finely sliced
1 medium-sized red chilli, sliced into rings
¼ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

Half fill a wok or large saucepan with water and bring to the boil.

Rinse the belly cavity of the fish, rub away any black lining and pat dry with paper towel. Cut several deep slashes into the thickest part of both sides of the fish.

Place a plate in a steamer basket, or line with baking paper. Place the fish in the steamer. Place steamer over wok or saucepan, cover and steam for about 16 minutes until the fish is opaque and flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Meanwhile, make the Chilli Cucumber Salad: combine fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice, stir well to dissolve palm sugar. Taste and add a little more sauce, sugar or juice to suit your taste, it should taste salty, sweet and sour. Add the cucumber, shallots, chilli and mint and chill until ready to serve.

Remove fish from the steamer, discarding any cooking liquid, and place on a serving platter. Scatter coriander leaves over the fish and spoon the salad around it. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and peas.

Alternative Species: This is a great recipe for other species including Barramundi, Coral Trout, Morwong, Murray Cod, West Australian Dhufish, or any of the Bream species.
Recipe and Photos reproduced with the kind permission of the Sydney Fish Market.

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