|Yellowtail/Seriola lalandi Picture taken from the WWF SASSI Website|
I’ve eaten and cooked plenty of fish as a fisherman’s daughter and a fishmonger. From the unassuming Snoek to the finest Yellowfin tuna, I’ve cooked them all, but my favorite will always be Yellowtail. Many people avoid cooking Yellowtail, claiming that it’s dry and fishy, but let me guarantee you: when cooked correctly it’s divine, it melts in your mouth, it’s so juicy. So, what’s the secret you ask? I’m here to tell you.
Firstly, make sure your Yellowtail is fresh and has never been frozen. The small Yellowtail that some retailers are selling are farmed and imported frozen. According to SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) they may come from Japan and while I’m not sure about their farming methods and the environmental impact, I would always recommend the fresh, locally caught Yellowtail over and above the imported fish. Our Yellowtail is, after all, on the SASSI green list. See SASSI pocketguide here.
As with all fish and seasonal produce, they are not available all year. The conditions have to be just right and in Yellowtail season, that means clear blue warm water currents. They are often found off Cape Point and seem to bite when the westerly wind blows. You can forget about fresh Yellowtail when the Southeaster is pumping!
Fishermen catch Yellowtail using a hand line or rod. This prevents bycatch. Yellowtail is a game fish and presents quite a challenge to fishermen as they are strong and fight hard.
Always buy your Yellowtail from a trustworthy source and look out for the standard signs of freshness, that are: clear eyes, fresh sea smell, red gills, firmness to the touch, and if filleted, translucent flesh. Fish should never smell ‘fishy’, if it does, it’s not fresh.
Today’s recipe is for Yellowtail wraps, and the fish should be cooked for 4 minutes, taken off the heat and allowed to rest for 2-3 minutes. Delicious! I’m sure you’ll be hooked!
|Fresh Yellowtail portions|
750g Yellowtail fillets, or other firm fish (Dorado, Cape Salmon, Angelfish, Gurnard)
Cut into strips after removing the skin.
1 cup roughly chopped coriander, leaves and stems (also called cilantro or Dhania)
- Combine all ingredients to make a paste
- Cover fish with the paste.
- Leave to marinade for 15 minutes
- Heat a little oil in a pan and fry fish in batches for 2 minutes a side.
handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
splash of olive oil
Toss all salad ingredients together.
1 cup mayonnaise (I like to use home made)
1 small tub (250ml) plain yogurt
1 tsp crushed garlic
pinch sea salt
Mix together all dressing ingredients.
- Lay out a warm flour tortilla.
- Place 3 strips of the prepared fish down the center.
- Top with a serving spoon of salad.
- Generously spoon dressing over the salad.
- Roll up and enjoy!