Friday, April 19, 2019

Summer Seafood: your best catch this season

The South-West has cemented its place as an Australian foodie paradise. Depending on the season, you can expect the region’s award-winning chefs to create mouth-watering menus using such local delicacies as venison in winter and lamb in spring.

In summer, it’s all about the seafood. And there’s a lot to be excited about.

From the squid and crabs found around Busselton, to the herring and whiting in Geographe Bay and dhufish and pink snapper further offshore, the local seafood smorgasbord is on full show over the warmer months.

For some, the fun is in cooking up your own catch. Legend Charters offers deep sea fishing tours, or you can hire a dinghy from Augusta Boat and Canoe Hire and head out on the Blackwood River.

However, if you’re after a more hassle-free option, then the region’s seafood restaurants and retailers are where you need to go.

What seafood is on offer in the South-West?

Blue swimmer (manna) crabs are perhaps the crème-de-la-crab of the South-West seafood world with a soft, sweet, slightly nutty meat that can be complemented with a sauvignon-blanc or a crisp Chardonnay. The season kicked off on November 1 so you’ll find plenty around Geographe Bay or at the fishmonger.

Coby Cockburn, Head Chef, Blue Manna Bistro

For fish lovers, West Australian dhufish command top prices for good reason as amongst the best eating fish in Australia. They’re elusive and reside in deeper waters in the reefs between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, along with another local favourite, pink snapper. Both need only a simple herb and butter sauce for cooking – in other words, let the fish speak for itself.

Other popular local fish include nannygai (red snapper or bright red fish) as well as whiting – an often-underrated fish that can be delicious in a tempura batter with a homemade tartare sauce. There’s also herring, trevally (skippy), samson fish, yellowtail kingfish and queen snapper.

And it wouldn’t be summer without freshwater marron season, which runs January 8 to February 5 and is sure to feature on local menus.

Where can I eat South-West seafood?

  • Blue Manna Bistro (Dunsborough)

As the name suggests, this relatively new Dunsborough offering is where you’ll find star dishes featuring local blue manna crab. The entire menu from head chef and owner Coby Cockburn is a standout but you won’t be disappointed ordering the Salt and Pepper Blue Manna Crab wok tossed Singapore chilli style with black pepper and chilli jam.

  • Yarri Bar + Restaurant (Dunsborough)

 Yarri honours nature, seasonality and the region and their seasonal menu reflects the produce that is available. Chef Aaron Carr and his team source local seafood and present simply beautiful dishes showcasing the product at it’s highest potential. See a seafood recipe from Aaron at the end of this Blog.

  • Little Fish Restaurant (Yallingup)

Overlooking a beautiful dam in the heart of the Gunyulgup Valley, seafood features highly on the menu, as it’s name would suggest! Lunch and dinner is served daily (excluding Mondays & Sunday evenings) – light meals, share platters and fish specials.

But there’s also nothing wrong with a simpler fish and chips experience, available at:

  • Gourmet to Go (27b/55 Dunn Bay Road, Dunsborough)
  • Squid Lips (27a/55 Dunn Bay Rd, Dunsborough)
  • Clancy’s Fish Pub (Caves Rd, Dunsborough)
  • Cod Rocks (27 Queen Street, Busselton)
  • Blue Ocean (73 Blackwood Avenue, Augusta)
  • Colourpatch Fish & Chips (98 Albany Terrace, Augusta)
  • Hooked on Middleton Beach Fish & Chips (12/20 Adelaide Cres, Middleton, Albany)

Where can I buy seafood in the South-West?

If you’re keen to cook up a sumptuous seafood feast at your luxury holiday home kitchen then here’s where you can buy quality local produce:

  • Oceans Fresh Seafood (Shop 2/16 Cyrillean Way, Dunsborough)

Located next to Blue Manna Bistro, it has a variety of fresh seafood for sale, including the region’s famed blue manna crabs.

  • 34 Degrees Blue (31 Station Road, Margaret River)

A wholesaler specialising in local seafood. Different offerings include a gourmet seafood mix or a whole fish prepared for you Thai style and ready to bake in the oven.

Seafood Recipe for Summer

Need inspiration? How about trying your own Kingfish Ceviche. Follow this recipe by iconic regional chef Aaron Carr, Yarri Restaurant + Bar.


1 kg Hiramasa kingfish fillet, halved lengthways

50 gm fine salt

2 corn cobs

Juice of 8 limes

100 ml extra-virgin olive oil

1 small telegraph cucumber, halved lengthways, coarsely chopped

1 small Spanish onion, thinly sliced

4 small red chillies, thinly sliced

1½ cups coriander leaves, coarsely chopped (loosely packed)

2 coriander stems, finely chopped


Place kingfish on a non-reactive tray, scatter all over with salt, cover and refrigerate to cure for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, preheat a char-grill pan over high heat, then char-grill corn, turning occasionally until blackened and tender. When cool enough to handle, slice kernels from cob and set aside.

Brush salt from kingfish, then thinly slice. Combine in a bowl with lime juice, olive oil, cucumber, onion, chilli, coriander leaves and stalks and corn, stir to combine and stand for 10 minutes. Arrange on a serving platter.

Serve with char-grilled flat bread.

Ready to start your summer seafood feast? We have a selection of beautiful holiday homes perfect for entertaining in the summer months.
Click here to browse our collections.

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