Dear readers, guess what landed on our doorstep last week? If you're thinking something long, cold and sea-fresh, you're on the right track! We were invited to try out a new seafood import coming into the Hong Kong market, the Southern Hake 澳洲無須鱈, also know as the Antarctic Queen and Merluza Austral, a deep sea fish caught off the coast of Chile, an amazingly beautiful and curious country with contrary landscapes ranging from oceans to mountains, volcanoes to deserts. (I kinda want to visit Chile now.)
The Antarctic Queen is a wild fish captured with what they call artisanal line and hook method (artisanal seems to me to mean old fashioned) by tiny fishing boats in the deep cold, cold waters off the south Patagonian coast of Chile. They seem to have realized over there in Chile that the best tasting fish are the wild caught fish, fresh as can be and sustainably fished. Which all true seafood lovers would agree, I'm sure.
As you can see the Antarctic Queen is a large rather fierce looking fish, growing up to 9 lbs in weight. The fish we got was almost a foot and a half in length, and fresh as a daisy, even after having flown all the way from Chile. There was not a whiff of fishiness, just a fresh sea smell. Incredible! I just love seafood, straight from the seas.
We found the Antarctic Queen a sort of cross between cod fish and garoupa, or grouper as it is also known. This is a fish with lots of beautiful just barely pink tinged white meat that cooks up to a beautiful white. Practically boneless. Medium flake. Wonderfully tender and yet firm. Softer than the cod fish. A sweet and lovely mild flavor.
We were provided with so much fish to play around with so we decided to try the Antarctic Queen cooked every which way. First we gave our fish fillets a light coating of salt and white pepper spiced flour and pan fried it with a premium soy sauce and grass fed butter sauce. Yum....
We loved this pan fried fish fillet; the skin turned out lovely and crisp, the cooked flesh tender to the point of almost falling apart and the mild flavor of the fish paired wonderfully with the soy butter sauce. Soy sauce and butter is of the few "fusion" combos I'm a big fan of, it's a really really good combo. (Recipe coming up soon!)
Then we steamed it, simple traditional Cantonese style steamed fish with ginger and spring onions.
We found that simple steaming the fish resulted in a good, quite tender texture but felt that the mild taste of the meat needed a flavor kick, soooo...we decided to try steaming the Antarctic Queen again, this time with the traditional Chinese sauce, the superlative Chinese Black Bean Sauce. And it worked a treat! The intensity and full bodied flavor of the black bean sauce paired wonderfully with the mild and sweet flavor of the Antarctic Queen. It was, as they say, quite delish!! (See our very next post for our recipe for Chinese Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce!)
Have you ever tried the lovely Antarctic Queen, Southern Hake fish from the far off land of Chile? How do you like it cooked?
(Disclosure: We received this fish from Allegre HKM, however all opinions in this article are our own, as always.)
More Fishy Delights at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Rabbit Fish Steamed with Tangerine Peel 果皮蒸泥鯭
Classic Chinese Steamed Fish 清蒸鱼
Sweet & Sour Fish 酸甜魚
Steamed Garoupa Fish 蒸石斑
Chinese Pan Fried Fish with Sauce 煎紅衫魚
Chilled Bigeye Fish - Chiu Chow Style 潮州凍大眼雞
Steamed Giant Grouper Fish Head with Tangerine Peel 果皮蒸龍躉頭