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Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Cooked Seafood

Living in the Chatham Islands has its perks, like an abundance of seafood at our doorstep and we’ve learnt a thing or two about how to respect the seafood we catch and cook it to perfection. Here we share some tips for perfectly cooked kaimoana.


Chatham Blue Cooking Tips

The secret to perfectly cooked blue cod fillets? Don’t touch them. Trying to flip the fillet too early will result in bits and pieces of your delicate Chatham Blue stuck all over the pan. Let the fillet sear for 2-4 minutes depending on thickness to allow a crust to form around the fillet, creating flavour and maintaining the fillet’s integrity.

Be sure to cook your fillets over a gentle heat. Fish needs a light touch to maintain its flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture. 

Chatham Blue is delicious on its own, but if marinating, marinate only for a maximum of 30 minutes (unlike beef or chicken). Any longer, the acidity will erode the blue cod’s proteins, and your fillet will be reduced to mush.

Try our honey thyme roasted carrots and blue cod recipe by Homeland chef Peter Gordon. 


Whole Paua Cooking Tips

One of the main concerns when cooking paua is that it’s too tough. Like steak, paua needs tenderising. Our frozen whole paua is part way there, as freezing paua helps the tenderising process.

To ensure tender, well-cooked paua, gently prise the meat out of the shell and tenderise the paua with a kitchen mallet. Be softer with the white side and harder with the black side. 

To cook, cut into thin strips and sear on a hot pan quickly – thin slices only need to be cooked for about one minute.

Try our paua, mushroom and noodle salad using sliced whole paua by Senior Food Writer Cuisine magazine Ginny Grant. 


Crayfish Tail Cooking Tips

When boiling your crayfish tails, salt the water very generously. You want water as salty as the sea.

Boil your tails for 10-12 minutes - the meat will be pinky/white and the tails orange by this point. Take your tails out of the pot and leave them to cool. Seafood is delicate and will cook outside of the pot so remember to take your cray tails out of the pot just before you think they are ready to eat. 

Crayfish shell holds more flavour than the meat. Add chopped shells to homemade broth or fry up in a seafood curry for added oomph. 

Leave crayfish tails in their shell for cooking on the BBQ. With scissors cut down the centre of the back of the tail and remove the top membrane and extra shell. 

Sear the flesh side down on a hot BBQ plate and then turn over and cook for 10 minutes in its shell for a delicious, perfectly cooked crayfish tail straight off the BBQ in minutes.

Try this aromatic turmeric and coconut curry with poached crayfish by Homeland chef Peter Gordon.


Kina Cooking Tips

Our frozen kina comes expertly prepared and ready to eat; however, it’s commonly eaten raw and straight after it’s caught. To ensure you are eating the delicacy correctly, after cracking open the shell, give the kina a swift shake to remove the insides, leaving the beautiful golden roe to be eaten right out of the shell. 

When cooking at home, you can submerge kina in olive oil before cooking to remove some bitterness and highlight the salty-oceanic flavour of kina.

Try this kina dip by Homeland chef Peter Gordon.

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