Bait to Plate

Kev Collins

Well known Restauranter and co-owner of Fish D'vine & The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach. When Kev's not working he's out fishing in the amazing food bowl of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in his tinnie in the estuaries crabbing! His blog imparts wisdom, tales and info on all things fishing and food.

Too Pretty to eat.

A fish we see a few of and one I just love catching and cooking with is a fish called a “black spot tusk fish” or simply a “bluey” by the locals.  My camera has a lens problem at present so the photos don’t do it justice (new camera on the way) but this really is (almost) too pretty to eat and yields beautiful white flaky fillets which can be eaten just about any way.

A long term favourite in our household is a fish and lemon risotto and always starts with a fresh whole fish, filleted and the bones turned into a stock at the same time the risotto is cooking.

Unlike a beef or chicken stock, fish stock is very quick to prepare and in fact the long slow cooking of a typical stock actually spoils a fish stock.

The process is simple. Fillet the fish and immediately put the stock pot on with the bones, onion, carrot, celery tops, bay leaf, pepper corns, salt and any herbs from the garden. If this is done “first job”, even before you move on to skin the fillets the stock will be ready to use by the time you are making your risotto.

Skin, bone and dice the fillets while moving on to fine dice some onion and garlic. Just follow the standard risotto process of sweating this off in a generous splash of olive oil before adding aborio rice a splash of white wine and by now your stock should be bubbling away nicely and ready to ladle (through a strainer) into the risotto. 25 minutes (of stirring and adding stock) later, add you diced fish, parmesan and butter for just a few minutes, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped flat leafed parsley and some 35 minutes after you started filleting you fish you have a dinner worthy of any high end Italian restaurant and just about our favourite “after fishing” dinner.