Category Archives: Fish

Wild Lampuki and Angry Prawns

It is the height of Lampuki season in Malta. Known as Dorado, Mahi Mahi and Dolphin Fish, this remarkable fish starts to migrate along the Mediterranean in the end  of August until November when it reaches a nice hefty size ( 1- 2 Kg ) and is quite plentiful.

Lampuka
Lampuka borrowed from http://fishidentificationblog.blogspot.com/

It is caught in a traditional manner practiced since Roman times using rafts woven out of bamboo and palms known as ” Kannizati”. The fish go to seek the shade of the raft and are surrounded by a net. Because of its abundance at a certain period this tasty fish sells at a very good value and is very sought after. It is cooked in a number of ways, with the most popular being simply frying them dipped in flour or semolina but it can also be roasted, grilled, cooked ‘in bianco’, poached and, when it gets bigger towards the end of the season, baked in a Lampuki Pie. When it is fried it can be served simply with lemon or/and mayonnaise or with a tangy caper tomato sauce.

The other day,a friend dropped by with a sizable Lampuka and a few fresh prawns. I decided to take the simple approach as I believe that the fresher the fish the less you should tamper with the flavour and it looked very fresh.

Lampuka

I fillet the fish so I can use the bones and head for fish stock.

I prefer to use semolina to encrust the fillets as this tends to burn less than flour on high heat and has an irresistible crunchiness. This can be seasoned with salt and pepper.

A huge clove of garlic is squashed and and placed in a frying pan with a generous layer of sunflower oil on a high heat. When it turns brown it is removed and the semolina encased fillets are placed skin side down into the oil. Leave it untouched for a couple of minutes and turn down the heat to medium. When it turns golden brown turn over and leave to fry gently for another few minutes until it reaches a nice golden colour as well. It is difficult to specify a time as there are a number of variables such as thickness of fillet, freshness of fish, oil temperature etc. However the colour seems a good way to judge if it at the right point to eat unless the oil is too hot and it burns the outside before cooking the inside.

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The Prawns

The prawns are the local smallish, red variety, very sweet tasting. They are sauteed in two tablespoons of olive oil, a clove of garlic and one chilli, both chopped, and a star aniseed. Two minutes on each side should be enough. The star aniseed gives it a pleasant liquorish sweetness while the chilli gives the dish its bite.

Serve with lemon wedges

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Poached Horse Mackarel (Sawrell)

Many people say that they are scared to cook fish as they don’t know where to start. I find this way works with most fish with delectable results.

sawrellScore the flesh in a line parallel to the dorsal fin. Stuff this crevice and other cavities with garlic and herbs such as parsley or mint. Place fish in a roasting pan and cover with water. Add a bay leaf, an onion and two peppercorns.IMG_0143

Bring to the boil and turn off. Leave to rest for five minutes. To chech if it’s cooked see if it comes off the bone easily. This is where the score on the back comes in handy. You can serve like this or you can brown it under a hot grill or oven. With the roast Mediterranean vegetables. Mmm!

Easy peasy!

If it’s the bones that put you off ask the fishmonger to fillet it for you