Why Seafood Should Be The Culinary Star Of The Cooler Seasons

Seafood is at its best in the colder months so give fish and prawns a starring role in your meal plans over winter

Most people think of seafood as a summer staple but those in the know get stuck into the fruits of the sea during the colder months when fish, oysters and crustaceans are in prime condition. And although simple pleasures don’t come much easier than a fillet of fish with a slice of lemon, seafood lends itself to much stronger flavours if you’re feeling a bit creative.

Take Curtis Stone’s tandoori-spiced barramundi with beetroot relish. The relish is a balance of earthy and fresh flavours with beetroot, coriander, lime, ginger, mint and coconut. The yoghurt vinaigrette also walks a fine line, this time between creamy and zesty with the addition of lime juice. Both elements together create a complementary flavour spectrum that covers sweet, savoury, salty and acidic with the fragrant spiced fish fillets as the star.

Cooking outdoors? Give the steaks a rest and sling your barramundi on the barbecue with a chilli and cumin rub and serve with Dutch carrots and grilled asparagus for the taste of summer with a Middle Eastern inflection. Prawns do some of their best work when exposed to the hot heat of a barbecue grill. Thread them onto bamboo skewers, season with salt, pepper and Chinese five spice and serve with a fresh salad.

Prawn dumplings filled with a mix of pork mince, prawn tails, ginger, garlic, green onion and coriander, and bathed in a tangy, spicy sauce of soy, vinegar and chilli is a dish for when you want big flavours, fast.  Assembling the dumplings is half the fun so recruit the kids into the kitchen.

A quick creamy yellow fish curry fragrant with cumin and lemongrass is a great way to use any firm fish and whatever vegetables you have on hand. Of course if you want a showstopping lunch with minimum effort you can always assemble a seafood platter – maximum effect for mere minutes on the grill.

Red Curry Salmon Linguine. Image: Coles

Want a dinner that feels like a warm hug in a bowl? Whip up fettucini tossed through a creamy sauce filled with flakes of hot smoked salmon, snow peas, and asparagus. To keep it light and zippy they spike the cream with mustard for gentle heat, a little horseradish and lemon zest. This one can be adapted to any fish so if you’ve only got a can of tuna in the cupboard it’s no problem. Throw it through this sauce for a fancy dinner fast.

But to really line your ribs this winter try your hand at a chowder. It’s not the thick creamy dish you might be imagining, but rather a Manhattan-style stew made with bacon, fresh fennel, carrot, onion, rosemary, oregano, chilli flakes and potatoes cooked into a tomato broth. You throw in fresh prawns at the very end to cook in the broth and serve with crusty bread for a hearty meal that will warm you right down to your toes.