These are sustainably farmed halibut from the beautiful Hebridean island of Gigha. We have been waiting many years to see farmed halibut grow to this size. These fish in the picture and video below are about 8kg each. Previously we have only ever seen smaller farmed fish which yield smaller steaks. These big fish are a good size for thick steaks and other prime cuts. It pleases us to see the Gigha halibut farm doing well and producing great fish that can offer a credible alternative to the popular Norwegian wild stocks. The Gigha farm is a closed water farm, meaning no waste reaches the ocean. New methods of farming such as this are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Producing high quality farmed fish like this is helping shape the market, allowing consumers to lean more confidently on farmed fish.
Recently we received a shipment of uni that was our best yet. I suppose you could say that we have caught ‘UNI fever’ at Fish Palace. As we have been talking alot about uni in the past few days, I decided to do a quick blog to let you know some of the things we found out.
Firstly, we should answer the question ‘what is uni?’. Uni is the Japanese word for sea urchin. The prize is found inside the spiny shell, a yellow/orange sack which is the urchin’s gonads (reproductive organ). Most chefs and keen enthusiasts serve and eat uni raw, a few more adventurous folk cook it using obscure and adventurous methods.
Until recently, uni was mainly appreciated by the Japanese and was primarily found in Japanese restaurants in East Asian countries and Western cities. From what we gather our customers buy uni to lay out as a center piece in their sashimi and sushi feasts. On special occasions they opt for uni, keta, gindara and maguro to really impress. Whilst our customers seem to know a lot about uni we are still catching up a bit.
We’ve had quite a mixed variety of uni over the years. Uni can range in colour and form depending on quality and origin. There are around 200 species of sea urchin but only some are used on a commercial level for human consumption. The main regions of the world producing uni are Hokkaido – Japan, California – USA, Maine – USA, Chile. These are not the only places in the world your uni could come from, they are just the top 4.
As you will have gathered; we are super impressed with our current supply shipped in from Canada. We called in a favour from one of our suppliers who is an importer from that region and asked to take a small percentage of their devoted uni shipment. A small percentage to them is a vast quantity to us! Luckily the quality is premium so we are more than happy to be over stocked in sashimi grade uni. The uni is packed in neat little trays that has 2 sacs to a compartment making it perfectly convenient to take them out and construct your sashimi stacks.
So from our end the outlook is pretty positive for the this years’ supply of high grade uni. No more of that ‘eggy’ and ‘soupy’ grade 2 uni, we are rolling with the grade 1 ‘creme de la creme’ from here on out.
2 x boneless & skinless stone bass fillet steaks
100G Shelled pistachio nuts
1 tbsp of sesame seeds
2 teaspoons of sichuan pepper
Plain white flour
Salt & pepper Cous cous
200G cous cous
250ml veg stock or water
50g Sun dried tomatoes
1 Bunch of Greek basil
Tblsp tomato pesto
Salt & Pepper
Peel the pistachios and put them in a bowl with the sichuan pepper and sesame seeds. Crush or cut them until the nuts are in small pieces (see photos). Place the crushed mix in the oven on bake at 180c for 10 minutes or until they have browned.
2. Add 250ml of vegetable stock or water to the cous cous and set aside for 5-7 minutes to absorb the water. In the meantime cut the onion, sun dried tomatoes and Greek basil finely and mix into the cous cous once the cous cous has absorbed all of the water. Finally, add a tablespoon of tomato pesto. Season the cous cous with salt and pepper.
3. Using three bowls: pour flour in the first bowl, beat two eggs in the second bowl and pour the toasted nut mix from the oven in the last bowl. Season the fish, roll it in the flour, dunk it in the egg and coat it in the nut mix.
4. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan on a medium heat and place the fish in the pan. Be careful that the nuts do not burn. Allow 3-4 minutes per side (depending on fillet thickness).
5. Serve the fish along-side a bowl of warm cous cous on freshly sliced beef tomatoes and steamed samphire.