These Recipes Will Teach You How to Cook Seafood Properly

These Recipes Will Teach You How to Cook Seafood Properly

Seafood is a staple pillar in Australian culture, mostly because we are surrounded by you know, the ocean, but it can be pretty daunting knowing how to cook it properly. Even though they are delicious, a lot of people are scared of cooking octopus or fish, so if that’s you, we’ve got some delicious recipes teaching you how to cook it perfectly every time.

Not only will these seafood recipes help you cook the perfect fish, they are great to add to your upcoming Easter lunches or your fancy summer soirées. Imagine how impressed everyone will be when you show up with a heavenly King George Whiting or Blue Mackerel dish.

These seriously good recipes come from some of the dishes chef Josh Niland will be creating as part of his Taste by Talisker pop-up restaurant in The Talisker Boathouse.

How to properly cook seafood

How to cook octopus

If you’re someone who has shied away from cooking octopus or seafood in general because it’s too challenging, let Josh Niland guide you through it with this mouth-watering recipe.

Charcoal Berrima Octopus and Yellowfin Tuna ‘Nduja

How to cook seafood
How to cook seafood properly. (Image: Supplied)

What you’ll need: 

For the octopus

  • 350g Berrima Octopus
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Charcoal grill

For the ‘nduja

  • 250g yellowfin tuna lion, trimmed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 55g rendered Murray Cod Fat, melted and cooled slightly (or olive oil)
  • Sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper
  • 90ml olive oil for frying

For the ‘nduja spice mix

  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • Pinch freshly cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of ground fennel seeds
  • Pinch of finely grated nutmeg
  • Pinch good quality chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes


  1. To make the ‘ndjua spice mix, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Chop the trimmed tuna into a coarse mince consistency with a sharp knife (or pass it through a meat grinder on a coarse setting if you have one). Transfer into a large bowl, add the spice mix, grated garlic, rendered fish fat and a pinch of salt and stir to combine thoroughly and set aside.
  2. Before grilling the octopus, heat a large heavy cast iron pan over medium heat with olive oil. When the oil reaches a light haze over the pan, add the ‘nduja to the pan and using a whisk, break the mince up to create an even texture. As the Nduja fries, it will begin to take on a little colour. Season it lightly again and cook for approx 4-5 minutes until the oil is red, tuna is evenly browned and the aromas are fragrant. Don’t dry the tuna out as it will become too chewy.
  3. Take a spoonful of the ‘nduja across into serving dishes with an even amount of mince and oils.
  4. Grill the octopus over a charcoal-burning grill pan or gas grill. Grill the octopus over even medium heat, until tender which will be around 2-3 minutes. Too high of heat will burn the octopus and cause bitterness. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for a minute. Using a knife, separate the tentacles and dress lightly in a bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil. Position the grilled octopus atop the ‘nduja and serve it immediately.
  5. Be sure to mix the dish before eating.

How to cook whiting fish

If you’re someone who doesn’t know how to cook whiting fish, let Josh Niland turn you into the seafood master.

King George Whiting, Tapioca, Fingerlime and Chive sauce 

How to cook seafood
How to cook seafood properly. (Image: Supplied)

What you’ll need: 

For the BBQ King George Whiting

  • 4 Butterflied King George Whiting
  • 80ml grapeseed oil for grilling
  • Flake sea salt

For the finger lime and tapioca sauce

  • 100g tapioca pearls
  • 100ml cold water
  • 2 French shallots, diced
  • 100ml white wine
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 75ml pouring (light) cream
  • 125g butter, chilled and diced
  • seas salt flakes
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Pearl of 2 finger limes
  • 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped


BBQ King George Whiting directions:

  1. Brush the butterflied whiting with grapeseed oil and season the skin liberally with salt.
  2. Place the whiting, skin side down, on the grill and put a fish weight or small saucepan on top of the flesh closest to the head end, as this is the thickest.
  3. This weight will help the heat transfer from skin to flesh without the need to turn the fish over. Cook for 2 minutes to develop good colour across the skin and warmth over the flesh, then move the weight to the centre of the fish and cook for another minute, or until the fish is about 60% cooked through. The warm Fingerlime tapioca sauce and the warmth of your serving plate will finish cooking the fish.
  4. Spoon the warm sauce into the centre of the plate.
  5. Remove the whiting from the grill and place it on top of the warm sauced plates, skin side up. Season with flake sea salt and serve immediately.

Finger lime and tapioca sauce directions:

  1. Bring 200ml of water to a boil, add the tapioca and cook for 12 minutes or until the pearls have a small white spot in the centre.
  2. Drain through a fine sieve and run under cold running water until the tapioca has cooled, then transfer to a lidded container.
  3. Stir through the cold water and set aside. Combine the shallot, wine and vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes or until reduced and thickened to a light syrup.
  4. Stir in the stock and cream and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and add the butter, stirring to emulsify.
  5. Season to taste with salt, then stir through the finger lime pearls, chives and drained tapioca pearls. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.

How to cook Blue Mackerel

You don’t even need to cook this one!

Salt and Vinegar Blue Mackerel in Gordal Olive Brine, Bread and Butter

How to cook seafood properly. (Image: Supplied)

What you’ll need:

  • 4 very fresh boneless blue mackerel fillets, tail intact
  • 80g sea salt flakes
  • 250ml champagne vinegar
  • 120ml Gordal olive brine
  • 80ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Warm sourdough bread to serve
  • Cultured salted butter to serve


  1. To pickle the mackerel, season the skin and flesh side evenly with salt, then place on a tray and refrigerate, uncovered, for 2 hours. Once time has passed, submerge the fish in a bath of vinegar and juniper berries and leave to chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the pickled mackerel from the vinegar, reserving the vinegar.
  3. Turn the fish onto the flesh side so it is skin side facing up.
  4. Using your fingers, grab onto the corner of the skin closest to where the head would have been and pull the skin gently off the flesh leaving behind the ‘silver skin’.
  5. Slice the mackerel thickly, about 1 cm from the head to the tail. Assemble each mackerel across 4 serving plates.
  6. Pour the Gordal Olive Brine and extra virgin olive oil over each mackerel evenly before serving. Be sure to serve the dish with warm sourdough bread and butter.

There you have it folks! Three different recipes for you to learn how to cook seafood perfectly and impress all your mates. If you’re looking for tips on how to prepare and enjoy raw fish, check this out.

The Talisker Boathouse is located within the wild rugged cliff tops of North Head for a two-day-only event from October 21 to 22. If you want more info, check it out here.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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