THE RESTAURANT

THE OYSTER INN

It is rated four out of five on trip advisor with quotes like "Best Oysters I have Had!" making it one of Waiheke's best Restaurants.

The Oyster Inn is a seafood restaurant, bar, take-away and small luxury boutique accommodation all rolled into one. And, what makes this restaurant so special is it is happy for you to bring in your own fresh caught fish and they will cook it up for you.

Located in the heart of Oneroa Village, on Waiheke Island The Oyster Inn is just 35 minutes from downtown Auckland by ferry and well worth a trip.

 

THE CHEF

ANTHONY MCNAMARA

It was the excellent fishing and a NZ wife that helped UK Chef Anthony relocate to New Zealand's Waiheke Island. A fly fishing aficionado Anthony not only writes for fishing publications in his spare time, but he's something of an oyster expert, having sampled over 230 varieties and counting. Originally from the UK he rose rapidly through the ranks to find himself chefing for consecutive British Prime Ministers, before stepping back and seeking out a different challenge.

An avid proponent of fish utilisation he arrived without any preconceptions about the fish in NZ. After experimenting with the different fish available Anthony has begun to open New Zealanders eyes and mouths to the bounty they might previously have overlooked. He perfectly represents this here with his delicious Kahawai dish.

 

THE RECIPE: Fish Tacos with Corn Tortilla-Crumbed Kahawai

Feeds four people as an entree or two people as a main

INGREDIENTS

For the fish:

  • Skinned and boned fillets from one large Kahawai, cut into finger sized pieces;
  • 4 tablespoons of plain flour;
  • 1 egg;
  • 1 packet of plain corn tortilla chips, smashed up into breadcrumbs.
  • For the salsa
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, left whole and unpeeled;
  • 1 large green chilli;
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil;
  • 1 green tomato;
  • A handful of coriander, stems and leaves separated;
  • Juice of one ripe lime;
  • 2 or 3 spring onions, finely shredded.

To finish

  • 8 soft corn tortillas or tacos, the Tio Pablo brand is very good if you do not wish to make your own;
  • Half an iceberg lettuce, very finely shredded;
  • A ripe avocado, smashed to a rough guacamole with the juice of another lime.

 

METHOD

You’ll want to make the salsa first, giving it a little time for the full flavour to develop so in a small pan or skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add the garlic, the chilli and the whole green tomato, turning to coat everything evenly in the oil before roasting in a medium oven until everything is browned and slightly softened, this will take about ten to fifteen minutes (this stage could also be done on a barbecue, the end result is to have a charred skin and softened flesh)

Allow everything to cool and then peel the skins from the garlic and the chilli. Cut the green tomato into wedges and set-aside until later.

In a mortar and pestle (or small food processor) grind the coriander stalks, the garlic and the chilli with a little sea salt until you have a thick green aromatic paste. Add the lime juice, the spring onion and the coriander leaves to this and mix well without losing any of the texture of what you have just added.

To crumb the fish, set out three bowls. One with the flour, one with the beaten egg and one with the tortilla crumbs. Pass the pieces of fish through these in that order making sure that each coating is even but not excessive. The flour will stick to the fish, the egg to the flour and the crumb to the egg. Put the crumbed fish pieces back into the refrigerator for a half an hour, or overnight, to chill, firm up and to allow the crumb coating to set before cooking.

To finish, wrap the soft corn tortillas in foil and place in a medium-low oven to warm through, they will only need a couple of minutes while the fish cooks which you will do in a skillet with a little sizzling butter until golden brown and crispy all over. Season the fish with a little sea salt after it has been cooked.

Take the warm corn tortillas from the oven, spread with a spoonful of guacamole, add a piece of fish, some roast green tomato, a spoonful of salsa and then finish with the finely shredded lettuce.

Enjoy two tacos as an entree or four as a generous main course with extra limes and ice-cold cervezas on the side.