When you think about South Australian seafood, what comes in your mind first? Oyster? King Prawns? Scallop? or Southern Rock Lobsters? I have everything in my mind. I truly think we are quite lucky living in South Australia. We have such a diversity in our ocean and the pristine seawater! You can taste things like purple sea urchins and scallops from Kangaroo Island to southern rock lobsters in Robe, OR mullet from Coorong to pacific and angasi oysters from Coffin Bay and above all, they are so delicious and so tasty!.
Where do you shop for seafood? I heard you asking. Although Adelaide doesn’t have a seafood market like Sydney does, our central market and surrounding suburbs have many seafood processors and shops. I’ve been to all of the shops but ultimately, I wanted to find a seafood provider that sells premium seafood and readily available seafood products. Now I found one, Ferguson Australia!
Ferguson Australia is a local family owned business, originated in 1969 when Robert Ferguson fished for southern rock lobsters. Today, this 3rd generation family business is even more active in the market. It has become a leader in the Australian commercial fishing industry and is committed to marine research as well as sustainable commercial fishing practice innovation. With international recognition, the business continuously promote Australian seafood produce to overseas countries. Their products can be found in Australia, Hongkong, Singapore and Germany. The company’s iconic product and world famed South Australian produce, Southern Rock Lobster, is treated as a top delicacy in many Asian countries. China and Japan seem to be two adjacent hungry markets for this fantastic creature!
Ferguson has not only created a Lobster empire, but also extended its business beyond to fish products. Ferguson Frozen Australian Seafood Retail Range is produced for public to enjoy at home. The fish is filleted and frozen on the day of catch and maximum freshness is retained. This retail range contains a number of top premium fish species, including flathead, Coorong mullet, King George Whiting, scallop and many more. Most interestingly, real seafood fanatics can find ocean jacket cheeks in this range which is really unusual and unique! You can find their full range here including where to purchase and some yummy recipes. I saw their range in Cappo Parkside the other day too!
How did I find Ferguson Australia? You may want to ask. I have known this brand for years and back in the early days in my blog life, I have been wanting to get a giant crab from them but has either missed out or too busy with my offline life. I saw on their facebook and instagram last month that their Southern Rock Lobster has just won the 2017 Delicious Produce Award. This really brought me back to my old memories that I really should write about this business especially I have covered a lot of SA produce previously. So action has been taken and the lovely live Southern Rock Lobster arrived in a week!
What a beautiful creature! Previously with lobsters in restaurants, all I see are cooked ones and I never had a chance to take a close look at them. It is so cute! The lobster arrived in a foam box with heaps of papers in package and you can see the attention to details of the producer. The lobster was live and active. What did I cook? Well, with such a live lobster, I decided to do it two ways, a lobster sashimi and a sushi dish with the head contents of the lobster. To reduce the pain of the lobster, it was frozen in my freezer for 3 hours and quickly defrosted for the sashimi dish.
My regular readers would know that Tina and I love Japanese food. This lobster is so fresh and I just felt cooking may destroy its flavour and taste so instead the normal steam, cook or bbq, I decided to have it raw. People may be scared to slice for sashimi of lobster, it is not that hard. After defrosting, insert the knife into the head of the lobster via the neck and do a twist, the head should come off. Then cut the bottom of the shell, you will see meat as shown in the picture below.
Then just insert the knife through the top and the lobster meat should come out quite easily. Slice the lobster into small pieces and serve.
For the sashimi, I am not going to write the recipe as it is quite easy. What I want to do though, is a taste analysis.
You must wonder how the raw flesh tasted. They are absolutely deliciously fantastic! You probably realise that I am short with my words now. It was top quality! 😀 The lobster was so fresh and the flesh was tender. Most importantly the flesh exhibited buttery texture and literally melt in the mouth with a strong creaminess after taste coming back on the palate, leaving a very long finish. With the increase in the number of chewing for each piece, the sweetness of the lobster was released onto the palate and mixed well with the initial creamy flavour and buttery texture! Although the lobster showed its complexity in flavour layers, the simplicity side of the taste is ultimately the lovely umami taste! You know that feeling when you tasted something, you want to laugh or cry? This is exactly the same feeling. That excitement in tasting something so fabulous in flavour has really moved my heart and tastebuds!
I would be confident to say that South Australia’s clean seawater has raised such a luxurious product and the quality of the meat was really top notch. No wonder this is a delicacy in many countries and the building up of Ferguson’s Lobster Empire is not a surprise!
After tasting the flesh plainly, I made two sauces to go with the lobster. A soy sauce and wasabi sauce (Sauce on the right) and my secret sauce (on the left) with a portion mix of soy sauce, saki, mirin (boiled and cooled mixture) combining Japanese pickled cherry sauce.
The first sauce worked okay as a standard Japanese sauce but did not add the wow factor to the lobster. The second sauce was great as it promoted the sweetness from mirin, saltiness from the soy sauce, the pickled cherry sourness and the slightly alcoholic hot flavour all into the lobster and this promoted the flavour overall by lifting some of the hidden umami flavour out onto the palate! Absolutely love the pairing!
Wine pairing with this dish was Petaluma Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2008 which I carefully cellared for some years. The clean peachy chardonnay has developed most of its flavours and this paring really made that wow factor with the lobster. The sweetness of the lobster has been enhanced to a totally new level! Try it yourself to experience this world class experience all using local South Australia seafood produce and wine!
Now you’ve seen why Ferguson Australia has now become my preferred premium seafood provider and how the three generations of the business has worked hard to bring Australian seafood onto the table internationally. If you want to experience this terrific producer yourself, some of their products are online and also in various stores. Be sure also to check out their retail premium fish range too – I am planning to buy some and cook up a store soon! Stay tuned.
In the next post, I will show you a recipe using lobster head to make sushi, including the practical step-by-step guide on how to roll a sushi roll. A preview is below. Enjoy!