Josh Niland on utilizing each a part of a fish

Many nations and cultures internationally make a aware effort to make use of the entire animal in cooking. Australian chef Josh Niland would love dwelling cooks to see fish as greater than a sum of their fillets. He discusses how privilege has led a majority of shoppers to make use of boneless and skinless merchandise, which make up roughly 50% of the animal. He suggests inquiring about floor tuna, mackerel, or swordfish on the fish counter for lasagna and meatballs. In Niland’s new guide, “Take One Fish,” he faculties readers on utilizing completely different parts of the fish, from small anchovies to the mighty tuna.

Pissaladière and pichade de menton 
Serves 4 

I fell in love with these two tarts whereas working in a Niçoise-style restaurant a lot of years in the past. It was far too tough to resolve which to incorporate on this guide, so I assumed I’d do each. Historically from Genoa in Liguria, pissaladière is made with caramelised onion, olives, salted anchovies and a focaccia-style bread, whereas pichade de menton is equally adorned however the caramelised onion is changed with a base of slow-cooked tomatoes. Each are packed filled with umami and are universally cherished. 

I made a decision to make use of recent sardines right here as an alternative of salted anchovies. I do know! Not precisely conventional, however I discover the intense minerality and clear flavours of recent sardines truly steadiness the dish higher. I’ve additionally changed the bread with a bitter cream pastry, which provides a wealthy, barely smooth centre the place the toppings sit but in addition has crisp, buttery edges. The pastry shell could be ready forward, as can all of the toppings, so break down the recipe into particular person duties in the course of the week and share these tarts with family members on the weekend. Serve with a easy salad of dandelion and pink girl apple, or make them into bite-sized parts for a glamorous canapé possibility. 


  • 1 amount Bitter Cream Pastry (see beneath) 
  • 12 entire recent sardines, scaled, filleted and ribs eliminated 
  • 24 Ligurian olives, pitted and halved 
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1⁄4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt flakes, freshly cracked black pepper and Espelette pepper 
  • Tomato jam 
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) ripe tomatoes, washed and cored 
  • 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Espelette pepper, or to style 60 ml (2 fl oz/1⁄4 cup) Garum or fish sauce
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) white sugar 
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) red-wine vinegar 
  • Caramelised onion 
  • 100 ml (31⁄2 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil 6 giant brown onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • freshly cracked black pepper 


  1. Make the pastry in accordance with the directions on web page 259. Divide the dough in half then, utilizing a rolling pin, roll out each bit between two sheets of baking paper to a circle about 5 mm (1⁄4 in) thick. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and chill the pastry within the fridge for no less than 1 hour earlier than baking. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). 
  3. Prime every pastry sheet with a heavy baking tray to cease the pastry puffing
    up in locations, leading to an uneven end. Bake for quarter-hour or till evenly colored. Put aside to chill. 
  4. To make the tomato jam, finely cube half the tomatoes, leaving the pores and skin on and seeds in, and put aside for later. Place the remaining tomatoes, garlic, Espelette pepper and garum or fish sauce in a blender and mix to a puree. Switch to a deep saucepan, add the sugar and vinegar and whisk to mix. Slowly convey to the boil over a medium warmth, stirring continually, then scale back the warmth to low and add the reserved diced tomato. Simmer gently for 30–40 minutes, skimming off any foam because it rises to the floor.
    Stir each 5 minutes to take away any solids from the underside and scrape the facet continuously so the jam cooks evenly. (It’s important to be affected person right here; if the jam catches over a excessive warmth and caramelises, the completed color can be uninteresting and fairly tan relatively than reaching its vibrant pink potential.) To examine if the jam is prepared, place a small spoonful on a chilly plate – it’s prepared whether it is softly set with no residual liquid operating from it. If it has set too agency, add a splash of water and take away from the warmth. 
  5. Pour the tomato jam into warmed, sterilised glass jars and permit to chill to room temperature. Retailer within the fridge for as much as 4 weeks. 
  6. For the caramelised onion, warmth the olive oil in a wide-based frying pan over
    a medium warmth. Add the onion and salt and stir to mix and coat the onion. Greater than only a seasoning, the salt will draw moisture out of the onion, which is important right here. 
  7. Wrap the bay leaf, star anise, thyme and rosemary in a muslin pouch and add to the onion combination. Cut back the warmth to low, cowl with a fitted lid and cook dinner for 35–40 minutes, stirring each 5 minutes, till the onion begins to color. Take away the lid and cook dinner, stirring, for an additional 5–10 minutes. The onion is prepared when it’s jammy and a darkish amber color. Take away from the warmth and funky, then retailer in a sterilised jar or hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 7 days. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). 
  9. To assemble the pissaladière, place your baked pastry on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spoon the chilled caramelised onion evenly over the floor, leaving a 2 cm (3⁄4 in) border across the edge. Bake for 10 minutes or till the onion has toasty edges and has adhered properly to the pastry. 
  10. In the meantime, working with a really sharp knife, slice every sardine in half
    from head to tail, creating an extended boneless strip. It’s vital to make use of a pointy knife to keep away from damaging the fillets and guaranteeing the attractive silver pores and skin stays intact. 
  11. Whereas the onion tart continues to be scorching from the oven, prepare half the sardines in a neat lattice sample, as proven within the picture overleaf. Dot olive halves in every lattice window. 
  12. Generously drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the tart and season with black pepper and a bit of salt. Return to the oven for two minutes to heat the sardines and olives. Please don’t overcook at this stage, in any other case the sardines will shortly go from being beautiful and oily to chalky and dry. Take away from the oven and serve instantly. 
  13. To assemble the pichade, observe the identical process because the pissaladière utilizing the remaining sardines and olives, however change the caramelised onion with the tomato jam and the black pepper with Espelette pepper. 

Bitter cream pastry
Makes 450 G (1 LB) 

This pastry could be made upfront and saved within the freezer. Relying on the recipe, you’ll be able to both thaw it earlier than use or bake it straight from the freezer. 


  • 200 g (7 oz/1 1/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, frozen 
  • 140 g (5 oz) butter, frozen and diced
  • 1 teaspoon wonderful salt
  • 2 teaspoons chilled water 
  • 100 g (3 1⁄2 oz) bitter cream, chilled 


  1. Pulse the flour and butter in a meals processor to create very wonderful crumbs. Tip onto a chilly floor and make a effectively within the center.
  2. Dissolve the salt within the water and add to the crumb, together with the bitter cream, and gently push the dough collectively till the liquids are absolutely integrated and the dough is easy however has seen ripples of bitter cream. It’s essential that you simply don’t overwork the dough at this stage. 
  3. Divide and roll out the dough following the directions in your chosen recipe, then chill within the fridge for no less than 1 hour earlier than baking. 

Snapper baked in salt pastry 
Serves 4 

That is the only method to bake an entire snapper with show-stopping outcomes. As soon as mastered, you’ll be able to fluctuate the approach with myriad flavours and species, and even the pastry (which isn’t edible right here), however essentially the most important factor is the resting time after baking. As you’ll be able to think about, there’s plenty of warmth trapped inside, and permitting this residual warmth to work its magic ends in completely cooked fish that comes simply off the bone. 

There’s a huge distinction between a fish being cooked and being overcooked. When cooking on the bone, there’s a candy spot the place the flesh decides to provide means off the bone and the pure gelatine and fats are nonetheless current. After this second a fish will begin to lose moisture, which in the end offers it its texture, flavour and look. You’ll be able to at all times cook dinner a fish a bit of extra if mandatory, so at all times err on the facet of underdone for a fish like snapper. 

Aussies love a very good, savory pie. Josh Niland creates his model of a fish pie utilizing the entire animal. Photograph by Rob Palmer.


  • 1 × 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) entire snapper, scaled, gutted and pin-boned, backbone left intact 
  • Salt pastry 
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour 
  • 150 g (5 1⁄2 oz) egg whites 
  • 420 g (15 oz) wonderful salt 
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) water 


  • To make the salt pastry, place all of the elements within the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Combine collectively on a low velocity for five minutes or till a agency easy dough varieties, then prove onto a evenly floured floor and knead for 1 minute right into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and go away to relaxation for 1 hour. 
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and line a big baking tray with baking paper. 
  • Unwrap the dough, reduce it in half and roll out each bit to a sq. about 3 mm (1/8 in) thick. The squares ought to exceed the width and peak of the entire snapper. Fastidiously place one pastry sq. on the ready baking tray and place the fish within the centre. Brush the sides of the pastry with a bit of water, then rigorously cowl the fish with the second pastry sheet, crimping the 2 sheets along with a fork to seal the sides. 
  • Trim away any extra pastry and reroll the trimmings, shaping them as you please for presentation functions. Place within the oven and bake for 25 minutes. To examine if it’s prepared, insert a probe thermometer by means of the pastry into the thickest a part of the fish. For finest outcomes, the temperature must be sitting round 40–42°C (104–107°F) when it’s faraway from the oven. 
  • Relaxation the fish in its pastry for about 10 minutes to succeed in a serving temperature of 48–50°C (118–122°F), then switch to the centre of the desk, prepared for the theatrical elimination of the pastry earlier than serving. 

Recipes excerpted with permission from “Take One Fish” by Josh Niland, revealed by Hardie Grant Books, August 2021.

Within the follow-up to his James Beard Award-winning cookbook, Australian chef Josh Niland faculties dwelling cooks on learn how to get essentially the most from varied fish. His newest work is “Take One Fish.” Photograph courtesy of Hardie Grant.

Supply hyperlink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.