December 2011

Flathead are almost leaping out of the water and, because they make the best fish for fish and chips, that’s what they’re doing with them at Kingsleys Steak & Crab House (10/6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo, Ph 1300 546 475).

There’s also a lot of flounder — some hand-speared — and mulloway (sometimes called Suzuki mulloway because Suzuki is the Japanese name for this group of fish) and the really good news is there’s a lot of striped trumpeter around. This fish is getting a big rep with chefs around the country. Try to get your hands on or teeth around some.

At Claude’s (10 Oxford Street, Woollahra, Ph 9331 2324) Chui Lee Luk is serving raw slices of trumpeter with a Japanese white soy sauce and a relish of black fungus, Noilly Prat, ginger and garlic.

And what exactly is white soy sauce? Dark soy is made by roasting wheat and steaming soybean before fermentation; white soy reverses the process — steams the wheat and roasts the soybean and reverses the proportion to 80 per cent wheat, 20 per cent soy. It’s a lighter, sweeter flavour. I’d never heard of it, either.

And, finally, watch out! The monster oyster from the deep. Wayne Hulme at Joto has got hold of some 15-year-old Pacific oysters dragged up from the sea bed by urchin fishermen. Paul Gaspa at Bistro 80 (The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, Ph 1800 700 700) is doing a classic Oyster Rockefeller with one per person: the oysters are warmed with spinach, bacon, onion and a bit of Pernod, sprinkled with parmesan breadcrumbs and napped with a smoked mornay sauce. I also gave Paul a 17th century recipe for oyster pie — I’ll let you know if he does it. Those big, beefy Pacifics would be perfect. 

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