To put it bluntly, aquaculture is an industry that seems to polarise chefs, gourmets and environmentalists. Within each group there are firmly held beliefs for and against this new form of farming.
Some chefs decry the practice claiming that farmed fish lacks the true flavour of one that is wild caught. Yet others celebrate the consistency and guaranteed supply of aquatic farming.
Some gourmets rail against the lost romance of the sea, while others applaud the ingenuity of these pioneering producers.
Some environmentalists besmirch the good name of aquaculture claiming that the fish meal used to feed them consumes far more resources than do wild fish. Its advocates will attest to the reduced footprint of farming, and the minimised impact on ever-dwindling wild stocks.
For the record, I am a big supporter of fish farming. It is a necessary industry in which Australians have initiated world’s best practice. But more importantly, the output of many fish farms is magnificent seafood that is a pleasure to cook with.
Kingfish farming in Australia is based on the Eyre Peninsula S.A., with Port Lincoln at its centre. The quality of its product is first rate, and increasing productivity has seen relative prices fall in the last few years.
The flesh is moist and slightly oily, with a flaky structure and rich briny perfume. The fillets have a deep-red pronounced bloodline that runs the length of the fish along the skin side. Once the skin has been removed, this bloodline can be easily removed with a sharp knife.
Kingfish is well-suited to a range of cooking techniques. You can fry, steam, bake or grill. And its mid-strength fishiness is compatible with a wide range of flavours. Mild vegetable garnishes or heavily spiced exotic concoctions work equally well.
Good for the environment, good to cook with and great to eat. Sometimes you really can have it all.
Sesame crusted kingfish with rouille