Food and drink

How to choose the freshest seafood this Easter

- April 5, 2023 2 MIN READ
It's easier to shop than catch your own seafood. Photo: AdobeStock
It’s currently Ramadan, Pesach (Passover) begins tonight for Jewish people and for Christians, Easter is this weekend, with seafood the focus of eating, especially on Good Friday.

To deal with demand, the Sydney Fish Market is open from 5am to 5pm this Friday, April 7, before returning to its usual business hours of 7am-4pm for the rest of the long weekend.

But when it comes to choosing seafood, the trick is to buy fresh and local, so we asked the team at the Sydney Fish Market for their tips on the best things to eat over Easter and how to choose the right one.

Here’s what they said.

Yes, everyone loves to buy Tasmanian salmon, but you can get that pretty much everywhere, including your local supermarket.

The really good gear comes from NSW suppliers, including fishers cooperatives in coastal towns such as Newcastle, Nowra, Ulladulla, Bermagui, Wallis Lake, Port Macquarie, and Coffs Harbour.

4 of the best this Easter

  • Octopus (from Coffs Harbour, Macleay, and Bermagui).
  • Mud and Blue Swimmer Crabs (from Wallis Lake, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Macleay, Ballina,
    and the Hawkesbury).
  • Yellowfin Bream (from the Clarence River and Wallis Lake).
  • Grey Mackerel (from Ulladulla, Coffs Harbour, and the Clarence River).

So how do you pick out the freshest seafood like a pro?

The trick is to use all of your senses and get up close to whatever you have your eye on (ask the staff at the market for gloves if you want).

Here are 5 things to check for

  • Look for shiny, lustrous-looking skin or scales, firm, intact flesh (with no marks or tears), and bright, pink-red gills. Make sure all mussel or pipi shells are closed, or close when gently tapped.
  • Touch the flesh of fish to ensure it feels firm, and springs back when pressed. Make sure crabs feel heavy for their size.
  • Listen to make sure there is no sound of sloshing water inside crabs when gently shaken.
  •  Taste the prawns you are thinking of purchasing – the staff will give you one to try!
  • And most importantly, smell everything you plan to buy. It should smell of the fresh and clean – not fishy! If something’s wrong, your nose will tell you.

Talk to your fishmonger

They know which species have come in fresh that morning, and what is in season. So, ask for advice, because they may even suggest a fish you’ve never tried or something that’s cheaper.

Lesser-known species are often more sustainable too. (Eg. Mirror dory can be half the price of John dory).

If you’re not an expert they can also give cooking tips and if you’re worried about bones, you can ask them to fillet your whole fish.