Celebrity chef shares the best way to prepare and cook fish – and why you should NEVER flip it to sear both sides
- Australian celebrity chef Josh Niland shared his best cooking tips with FEMAIL
- He discouraged cooks from washing fish and urged many to use fish weights
- The top chef revealed that Talisker whiskey was his favourite seafood pairing
- Niland is also hosting a pop-up restaurant in Sydney on October 21 and 22
A top Australian chef has revealed his best seafood cooking tips to turn even the simplest of dishes into fantastic feasts.
He shared several of his go-to cooking tips and tricks with FEMAIL, including a special hack he uses ‘every time’ he’s in the kitchen.
A top Australian chef [pictured] has revealed his best seafood cooking tips to turn even the simplest of dishes into fantastic feasts
Josh Niland, from Sydney, is the owner and head chef at the Saint Peter restaurant in Paddington
1. The best way to prepare fish
‘The biggest secret to preparing fish at home is to not wash your fish!’ Niland revealed.
‘If you’ve bought a fish that’s been washed, then place the fillet onto a cake rack and place it into your refrigerator uncovered for at least 4-5 hours to allow the skin to dry out slightly so that when you pan fry the skin it gets nice and crisp.’
‘The biggest secret to preparing fish at home is to not wash your fish!’ Niland revealed
2. An unusual but delicious pairing for seafood
The celebrity chef swears by whiskey – specifically Talisker – when preparing seafood.
‘Using fish like Mackerel with a robust seasoning like salt and vinegar really helps draw out the minerality of the fish and the quality of the salty notes of a whisky like Talisker that naturally has a sea-salt taste.’
He added: ‘Chilli was a surprisingly good combination that came in the form of our tuna Nduja and finally the smokiness of the king George Whiting coming off the charcoal grill combined with the butter sauce was one of my favourites.’
Niland also said that Talisker whiskey was a particularly delicious pairing while trying to draw out the meaty qualities of fish.
The celebrity chef swears by whiskey – specifically Talisker – when preparing seafood
3. The best inventive cooking method
The top chef told FEMAIL about the behind-the-scenes process of discovering Saint Peter’s special Fish Eye Ice Cream.
‘Making ice cream with fish eyes has been an amazing discovery that we are having a lot of fun with,’ Niland said.
‘By removing the vitreous humour from the eye of the fish we have worked out that it carries a very similar composition to that of a chicken egg resulting in a product that has no taste of fish but the same viscosity as a chicken egg based custard.’
The top chef told FEMAIL about the behind-the-scenes process of discovering Saint Peter’s special Fish Eye Ice Cream
4. Josh’s ultimate fish cooking hack
‘There are many species and variables of fish, so my best advice when it comes to a skin on fillet of fish is to cook it only on the skin side,’ he said.
Niland elaborated: ‘It’s best to work with a fish weight on the flesh side to allow heat to rise to the weight which gently cooks the flesh as the skin gets crispy and golden underneath.’
The chef revealed that cooking the flesh of a fish often leads to the flesh getting dry and powdery, so using the skin as protection really brings out its source of flavour.
The chef revealed that cooking the flesh of a fish often leads to the flesh getting dry and powdery, so using the skin as protection really brings out its source of flavour
The celebrity chef will be heading a pop-up restaurant located at Q Station in Manly’s North Head for an exclusive dining experience that spans two nights only.
The three-course paired menu is available to book exclusively for a one-night only session from 5.30pm on October 21.
But for those looking for a more relaxed bar experience, the second night’s guided whisky experience might be more their style.
‘I wanted to capture the wild spirit of the sea paired with key aromas of Talisker – smoke, spice and a sense of sea salt spray in the morning after a storm,’ said Niland.
‘Years of maturation made by the sea has lent a full flavour to this bold dram and this menu celebrates Talisker’s rich flavours while honouring the sea in a sustainable and ethical way.’