Sushi again! Yep but this time, there is a good story behind the sushi dishes about a man, me :P, who is keen to find the freshest possible seafood in South Australia to fix his craving for Japanese food. Well sounds legendary but it really comes to one simple question. How fresh can your seafood be? Over the three years after starting this blog, I got many readers asking me where one could be sashimi grade fish in Adelaide. Seriously, I have used Cappo for almost 10 something years and Ferguson for just half a year since they opened. However, I know if I wanted the freshest seafood produces, Port Lincoln is the place to go. Thanks to my Fishmonger, Austar Seafood Warehouse for the delivery of a such well packaged esky all the way from Port Lincoln to me. The package arrived on the second day they sent it out and after I collected it from Port Adelaide, I was amazed by the fresh smell of all the lovely varieties! Austar seafood warehouse is located on St Andrew’s Terrace in Port Lincoln specialising in fresh seasonal seafood sourced mainly in the local area.
The esky came with full of ice and was about 10Kg in weight. Want to know what I had in the esky? I got some Port Lincoln Bluefin tuna toro (Belly 1Kg), Coffin Bay live oysters (3 dozens), Port Lincoln local raw Balmain Bugs (heads on, 1.5Kg) and Harvey Bay scallop meat (fresh, 0.5 Kg). These premium ingredients have then allowed me to prepare some sushi and sashimi dishes for the night and the second day.
The dishes that we created can be seen from the picture above and I will go around to talk about each seafood, the dish and a small recipe.
Port Lincoln local bluefin tuna toro
Tuna toro (Chutoro) is the medium fatty tuna part near the belly. It shows a slightly pink color with a reasonable amount of fatty acids. Port Lincoln blue fin tunas have been selling at higher prices each year in Japan and the toro itself is also almost exported to Asian countries as it is considered as a delicacy in Japan and Taiwan. I wasn’t able to find any in Adelaide but fortunately, Port Lincoln got it.
This tuna toro came with the belly part and a very small portion of tuna meat so that I used the toro to create two dishes. One was as the sashimi duo. The dark red tuna meat and tuna belly were prepared separately to be plated up. As a deep sea fish, tuna does not need to be frozen to get rid of certain bacteria and this made me started tasting the fish straight away during preparation. OMG! It was soooooooooooooo yum! The whole belly went into my mouth and literally began to melt immediately. After chewing for several seconds, the whole meat floated down the throat without much notice and this made wanting to eat more! Kenji on Hutt Street sometime offers tuna toro as a special. Depending on the quality of the toro, the mouth feel can vary from rubbery to smooth. In terms of flavour, because of the melting effect, all flavours can be penetrated out of the meat with strong fishy and seafood taste with a hint of nutty flavour. The complexity of the sensation can be accompanied by a good chardonnay or sake to flush the toro down. 😀
The second dish I prepared was tuna toro nigiri. The making process was easy.
1. To cook rice, just follow my instruction in previous posts.
2. Use your clean hand to make the cooked sushi rice into the shape as shown below.
3. Thinly slice the tuna toro. My one can transmit light. How cool is that! LOL 😛 Look at the structure of the meat! Beautiful!
4. Place a small amount of wasabi at the center of the meat and lay the piece on top of the rice block in step 3. Here you go, my Port Lincoln local bluefin tuna toro nigiri.
Port Lincoln Balmain Bugs
These are Balmain bugs that are caught in the area of Port Lincoln. Although they look very much the famous Queensland Moreton Bay bugs, they are two completely different species under slipper lobster. Balmain bugs are sometimes referred to as butterfly fan lobster and when raw, they exhibit a reddish brown color. The fresh raw ones come with their heads on while some of the tails we get in shops are from frozen imported sources, They sizes of the bugs from the esky were quite big.
I always wondered what in the head of a bug is. It’s similar crabs and you can expect a lot of bug butters. Hence, from the bugs, I made two dishes, Balmain bug tail sashimi and the bug butter gunkanmaki.
The bug tail sashimi was east to prepare. Cut the bug meat into pieces or cubes leave in the fridge for 15 mins to cool down. If you wish, you can add a drizzle of lemon juices to cure the meat a bit. I didn’t cure it because I want to experience the most original taste and the result was GREAT! The meat was so beautiful in taste with loads of fresh seafood flavours. With a good texture that was easy to be consumed, the bug meat was actually quite sweet when raw and this sweetness, I think, stimulated my tastebuds and I eventually just wanted to eat more! 😀
The bug butter gunkanmaki required some preparation. For how to make gunkanmaki, please refer to my previous post.
To make the filling:
1. Collect all bug butters and some meat from the head.
2. In a sauce pan, add in the bug butters and hot water to just cover the content. Bring to boil and cook until the butter and meat has changed color. Drain the cooked bug butter and meat. I kept the water that the bug was boiled in, for seafood paella. 🙂
3. To the cooked bug butter and meat, add Herring caviar. Be generous with the amount. Then, add in 1 tbsp Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise. Stir well and you are on your way.
The bug butters were creamy with smooth textures while the caviar added the required saltiness and the mayo made the whole filling sour and fragrant. 🙂
Harvey Bay Scallop meat
Harvey Bay scallops are one of the top quality scallops in the world. Although they were not SA produces, they came to me fresh with all roes off the meat. I had a taste of the raw one. Oh, it was fabulous! All the essence were well kept within the meat and can gradually diffuse into the mouth with chewing. The seafood flavour and the sweetness of the meat stayed in the mouth for a long time while the texture of the scallop was like a medium fat meat. One of the best scallops I ever had!
The scallop was prepared two ways. One was pan seared on both side for 40 seconds and sever as sashimi.
The second dish was to cut the scallops in half from the center horizontally with one side still connected. Place a small amount of wasabi at the center of the scallop and make some nigiri. I truly think the fresh raw ones taste much better! 😀
I thoroughly enjoyed all the seafood varieties and will definitely recommend Austar seafood warehouse to all my readers who want the freshest sashimi grade local seafood!
Coming up next is my first experience to shuck oysters. Stay tuned!