May 2018

maltese seafood dishes

4 Traditional Maltese Seafood Dishes

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Fact: we take seafood pretty seriously in Malta. With our generous selection of fresh seasonal fish caught all year round, who can blame us? The proverbial fruit of the sea is arguably some of the most delicious in the Mediterranean, so if  your love for seafood is abundant, read on to discover some incredible Maltese seafood dishes!

Our team at Azzopardi Fisheries – renowned vendors of fresh fish in Malta – decided to pay homage to our local cuisine by highlighting four of the most-loved, traditional Maltese seafood dishes.

 

1. Fish Soup (Aljotta)

Aljotta is possibly the epitome of Maltese Cuisine. This hearty, wintery meal is jam-packed with local produce such as garlic, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, local white wine, lemon, onions and needless to say, fresh fish. On occasion, some even choose to add rice into the tasty seafood concoction.

Perhaps the best thing about aljotta is the fact that it’s served all year round and doesn’t rely solely on one specific type of fish. What’s even better is the fact that it’s also incredibly easy to prepare, so you needn’t be a seasoned (excuse the pun!) chef to try your hands at this flavoursome dish!

 

2. Lampuki Pie (Torta tal-Lampuki)

The Lampuki Pie is a delicious mixture of fresh and pickled vegetables, an assortment of herbs and of course, lampuka – enveloped in either crumbly shortcrust or crunchy puff pastry – depending on how sinful you’d like to make your dish! Pie mixtures may vary from household to household, as it certainly depends on the available ingredients in one’s pantry. But staple ingredients every Lampuka Pie (apart from the star ingredient) must have are: spinach, olives and capers.

 

3. Grilled Swordfish (Pixxispad Mimli)

The most common way of preparing the fish is grilling, in order to preserve the rich, full flavour of the fish steak. Common pairings are white wine, lemon juice and lashings of olive oil.

 

4. Spaghetti with octopus sauce (Spaghetti biz-zalza tal-qarnit)

This is our take on the traditional Italian dish. The octopus is chopped and infused in a sauce of tomatoes, red wine, fresh herbs, onions, peas and black olives, which is then served over al dente spaghetti.

 

Not sure which kinds of Maltese seafood dishes to prepare? Visit Azzopardi Fisheries in St. Paul’s Bay to view our vast selection of fresh fish in Malta. If you’re lacking the inspiration, our friendly staff will surely help you decide what your next seafood dish should be!

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filleting fish

How to Fillet a Fish Skillfully

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No matter the cooking method, freshly caught fish is a delicious treat whatever the occasion. Our team at Azzopardi Fisheries, popular providers of fresh fish in Malta – highlight essential factors to keep in mind when filleting fish.

 

1. Cut the fish

Lay the fish on one side. Cut just behind the top of the head until you hit the backbone. Just cut to the spine, not through it. Continue cutting in an arc shape around the fish’s head. You needn’t cut deeper than the backbone. Don’t cut the head off, just cut about halfway into the fish.

 

2. Cut the tail

Cut through the fish’s centre horizontally towards the tail. The knife will move vertically towards the backbone, which you can use as a guide to guarantee you’ll get a flat cut. Turn the fish on its other side, and repeat the above instructions.

 

3. Remove the ribcage

With a smaller knife, lift and remove the ribcage from inside the fillet. This will be the small, almost transparent set of bones on the lower third of fish fillet. This part generally comes off easily in one piece.

 

4. Scaling the fish

If you prefer cooking the fish with the skin on, use the blunt part of a knife for scaling. Apply a short, lifting motion from the tail to the head to quickly remove all the scales. If you’re not a fan of the skin, simply slide the knife between the fish and skin and cut the skin away.

 

5. If you want to cut steak pieces…

Using a sharp knife, cut the fish perpendicular to the backbone, going all the way through the spine to get thick, 1″ steaks. This method is common with bigger fish – like tuna and salmon – and retains the spine running through the middle of the fish.

 

6. (If desired) Cut off the head

You don’t have to; in fact, for some cooking methods it’s best to leave it on when filleting fish, as this is the part which adds flavour and depth. Nevertheless, if you do opt for this phase, make sure to cut the head directly behind the gills.

 

7. Removing the dorsal fin

It’s actually not necessary to remove this particular fin, but it is useful if you want to get rid of those really tiny bones left underneath. Hold the fin down near the tail and pull quickly – it will come off in just a single quick motion.

 

Filleting fish can be a tricky chore, so if you would like a helping hand, you can rely on our team at Azzopardi Fisheries in St. Paul’s Bay, who will gladly do the job for you. Come over and visit our store for the best selection of fresh fish in Malta.

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fun facts about lobsters

Fun Facts about Lobsters

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Let’s face it: few dishes ooze as much flavour and deliciousness as much as a luscious plate of lobster. It’s a delicacy that’s loved all over the world, and in most societies it’s regarded as a status symbol due to its reputation as a rather fancy dish. Our team at Azzopardi Fisheries – suppliers of fresh fish in Malta – have compiled a few fun facts about lobsters for all you seafood fanatics out there.

 

They weren’t always meant for the upper crust of society

Here’s one of the little known facts about lobsters: During colonial times, it was the poor and the working class who often used to eat them, as well as prisoners or servants; it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the shellfish was recognised as a luxury food. There was such an overabundance of them that even children could run out to shore and catch them with a bucket and a few simple fishing tools. Farmers would use them to feed their stock or to fertilise their fields.

 

Cracking open a common myth: Lobsters don’t scream

Contrary to popular belief, the sound heard while the lobster cooks is air being forced out of the mouth after being trapped inside the stomach. Lobsters don’t actually have vocal cords or a pair of lungs. Many scientific institutes hold that due to their extremely primitive nervous systems, lobsters cannot even feel pain.

 

If we’re not eating them, they’re eating each other

Feeling guilty about that delicious plate of lobster you devoured last Sunday? Well, it’s likely that its own parents would have ended up eating it anyway! Biologists have recently discovered this strange phenomenon of lobster cannibalism, most likely provoked by climate change. Warmer temperatures cause these crustaceans to reproduce more rapidly, leading to an overpopulation and thus, more aggression amongst broods.

 

Get your claws on these health benefits

With a low amount of fat and plenty of protein, lobster meat is one of the healthiest types of seafood around. It has a rich, sweet flavour that is enhanced through a number of cooking methods, including grilling, baking or steaming. Avoid pairing it with overly creamy or buttery sides; instead, serve it with a fresh salad or a nice soup.

 

What the shell!

Lobsters caught between the months of July and October are considered the most delicious. During this period they are nicknamed “shedders” – referring to those which have recently moulted to swap their old shell for a new one. Next time you order a lobster, ask for one that is soft shelled – the meat is sweeter in taste and has a noticeably tender texture.

 

Enjoyed reading these fun facts about lobsters? Head over to Azzopardi Fisheries in St. Paul’s Bay, the top spot for fresh seafood in Malta. Don’t forget to check out our vast selection of fresh fish, both local and imported, while you’re here.

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guide for cleaning fish

A How-to Guide for Cleaning Fish: Tips from Azzopardi Fisheries

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While following quite a simple technique, cleaning fish isn’t the most pleasant of tasks. Nevertheless, after you’ve got the first one done and have tasted the glory of fresh fish in Malta, you’ll forget all about the mess. Azzopardi Fisheries wanted to share simple guide for cleaning fish with the rest of you.

 

1. Prepare a plastic bag or bucket to discard unwanted parts

Our guide for cleaning fish has one very important warning to begin with: a messy workstation spells nothing but disastrous results. Make sure you have a clean work top and throw away all the raw fish parts after working. Prepare your disposal system prior to cutting, so you can toss the guts and excess fish easily. Additionally, having some newspaper laid out on the cutting surface is helpful for soaking up the unavoidable liquids that will spill out of the fish.

 

2. Descale the fish

Using a blunt knife or spoon, use a quick raking motion to remove the scales. You need to work against the normal direction of the scales, raking up from tail to head. Apply a short, shallow, scoop motion, getting under the scales and pushing up and into them quickly to rake them out of the fish.

Alternatively, you can use the back side of a knife, held a little less than perpendicular to the fish. To avoid making a mess, you can always remove the scales under a running tap or in a washbasin filled with water.

 

3. Cut a shallow slit from the bottom end up to the head

The small hole on the belly of the fish, back near the tail, is the anus. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow cut from there along the belly of the fish, stopping at the base of the gills. Aim for a shallow cut so that you can pull them out intact, preventing spillage.

 

4. Scoop out the fish’s innards

You’ll need a dull spoon for this step – be sure to remove everything, and double check afterwards just to be absolutely certain.

 

5. Scrape out any dark, inner membrane

Not all fish have this thin layer in their inner cavity; if they do, you’ll want to remove it. This has a pungent flavour and has an oily, extra-fishy aroma which is far from appetising.

 

6. Remove any sticky scales and spare bits left over

We suggest using a paper towel to gently wipe any remaining particles off, as water can easily diminish the natural flavour of the fish.

 

If you’re a fan of cooking fish, but still have no clue as to how to clean it, fear not – our team at Azzopardi Fisheries in St. Paul’s Bay will do the job so you don’t have to! Be sure to come visit our stores, where you’ll be spoilt for choice with our selection of freshly caught fresh fish and seafood in Malta. If you have your own guide for cleaning fish, share it with us in the comments!

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