Here is the thing about buying and cooking fish properly. It's really not as hard as you would think. If you follow a few simple rules, your chances of getting the fish from grill to plate, or ice to mouth in one piece—are actually very good. We sat down with super-star chef, Karl Firla, from the epic Sydney restaurant Oscillate Wildly, for the ultimate blueprint to minimising hand-wringing at the fishmonger and in the kitchen, and maximising pleasure at the table.
Here are Karl's prime fish tips:
How to buy your fish
1. Check. It. Out. Much like your fruit and veg, fish needs to look good overall, no dints, tears, or bruising.
2. Stiff fish? Love it. Rigor mortis in the fish shows that it is extremely fresh.
3. Stare deep into its eyes. Make sure they are clear and bright, not dull, tired and needing a bottle of Poly Tears.
4. Go large. Buy the whole fish – filleted fish on ice is no good for quality, it damages the flesh and allows the meat to absorb water. Ask your lovely fishmonger to fillet for you if you don't want to get intimate with a knife and your dinner.
5. Fillets are all you see? Look at the colour of the bloodline on the fish – it should be a vibrant red, if dulled and brown like rust, that's a fishy fish.
6. No flakes. As in life, there are no rooms for flakes when it comes to your fish. If the fillet is tight and firm, this is a great indicator of freshness and quality. Flaky fish equals poor quality and a lack of protein binding the fish structure.
TUL Note: Karl Firla is a chef known for his experimentation, and creative passion for food and wine. Prior to opening Oscillate Wildly, Firla worked at est., Marque and the Bridgewater Mill.
275 Australia Street, Newtown Sydney 2042
Ph: +61 2 9517 4700
Bookings highly recommended
Opening hours Tuesday to Saturday for dinner
Image credit top: Salted and Styled
Image credit below: 35 Photo