Prawns for Easter - Producer profile

It's nice to find a silver lining in the recent floods - the local seafood market is set to make a comeback in time for Easter with some impressive quality stocks being yielded from Moreton Bay and Mooloolaba catchments. 
“Popular fish coming in season include local spanish mackeral, whiting, mahi mahi, swordfish and tuna from Mooloolaba,” said Dave Cooper from Princess Charlotte Seafoods who trades at Jan Power’s Queen Street Farmers Markets. “Wild caught barramundi  and long line catches are also coming into season now from Bundaberg.”

Heavy flooding earlier in the year hindered direct seafood stock in the Moreton Bay region. Thankfully, the flow on effect of these heavy rains has now benefited the local seafood industry. 

“The heavy rains caused a pushing down momentum, a flush, which cleans the water and pushes the debris and sediments downstream,” said Dave. “This has resulted in a good year for tiger prawns and an outstanding year for Moreton Bay prawns.” 

The Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries as well as independent studies cleared the local catchment areas two months ago. Since then the surplus of fresh prawns has driven down the price, providing some good bargains coming into Easter.

 “Being marine animals, the prawns have moved out of the rivers into Moreton Bay because of the recent rain and have been available in big numbers, so fishermen are bringing in good catches,” said President of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association, Michael Gardner.  “Some experienced fisherman have said they don’t recall a time when prawns were more abundant in the bay.”

“A wide variety of seafood is in hot demand for Easter including local fish for Good Friday, as well as prawns and bugs for picnics and barbeques,” said Dave. 

“The great advantage of buying direct from Jan Power’s Farmers Markets is that everything is local and growers, farmers and merchants will invite you to sample their produce so you can test its flavour and freshness,” he said.

Producer’s tips:
*Fish should have bright shiny scales, eyes and gills and should always smell of the ocean!
*Peel prawns immediately before eating and always store above O degrees and below 7
*All our seafood is local, nothing is imported.  It ensures an eco-sustainable practice, as we buy from fishermen fishing in Moreton Bay, which has marine parks and delegated Green Zones to protect marine animals, plant environments and breeding areas.

Princess Charlotte Seafoods trade at:
Queen Street markets - every Wednesday; Powerhouse Markets - every second and fourth Sunday; Mitchelton Markets- first Sunday of the month; Manly Markets - third Saturday of the month

Jan Power’s Easter Grilled Fish with Capers, Tomatoes, Olives and Chilli Sauce 
– Mediterranean Style  
(Serves 4)

Try a swordfish steak or a salmon hunk or a nice big tidy firm fish that can stand the stove or BBQ heat without breaking down or sticking.

4 good fish steaks
2 tbspns best capers or caper-berries drained
½ cup olive oil
½ cup of black olives.
Sea salt and black pepper
1 punnet fresh baby tomatoes or a small bottle of semi dried tomatoes
Good pinch of dry oregano and a handful of fresh parsley or coriander
One small chilli – seeds removed.
1 clove of garlic.

Wizz together in your kitchen processor: the peeled garlic, chopped chilli and herbs along with seasonings.
If you want to use the fresh baby tomatoes then cut them in half and sprinkle with dry oregano powder, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Put them on a foiled tray and cook at low heat 130c for 40 minutes in oven.
Grill or BBQ the fish steaks after oiling them lightly and carefully.
Throw together the herb and seasonings mixture with the semi dried tomatoes, capers and black olives and drop a generous spoonful of this wonderful sauce on top of the cooked warm fish.
Serve up on polenta, rice, couscous or mash.