Delicious seafood dinner ideas

Dunedin foodies Judith Cullen and Greg Piner succumbed to their craving for fresh seafood last week, taking advantage of home delivery services. Here they share their favourite recipes.

Judith Cullen
Judith Cullen
Judith Cullen

I really have a positive feeling that although lockdown has tragically been detrimental to so many hospitality businesses, it has also given so many people the confidence to "have a go" in the kitchen.

In another life, I was a home economics teacher and I look back thinking then most children passed through my room at some stage and left high school with some cooking skills

For those who do not get that opportunity to learn about food or cooking methods it’s tough. It is all about skills and confidence and once you have mastered those two you get satisfaction, enjoyment and best of all the ability to share with friends and family around a table.

I also agree with one of my favourite celebrity food heroes Anthony Bourdain who said "I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable".

I think lockdown has incorporated all of these and hopefully we can hold on to this new found respect.

We also have so many talented people working incredibly long hours and tirelessly, not only to maintain their own businesses, but to provide a deliverable service for everyone under level 3 whether they are in the city or in the countryside like us.

I needed my fix of seafood — something we usually eat 2-3 times a week. Dunedin’s Harbour Fish are meeting the demand for fresh fish, chilled and ready to cook.

Over the past few days I have had fun cooking traditional fish and chips, pan-fried whole flounder and, with a little more work, crepes filled with smoked seafood.

Panko crumbed sole fillets with crispy sumac oven wedges and lemon mayonnaise-tartare sauce

Photos Supplied
Photos Supplied
Panko crumbs are my best friend and I use them to coat olives, oysters, chicken and, of course, fish. It’s the same method for all. I served my fish with crispy sumac oven wedges, a simple salad and lemon tartare sauce.

Crispy sumac oven wedges


1-2 tsp sumac

To taste

sea salt

ground black pepper

olive oil


Par boil the potatoes (enough for you and your family). Drain. Allow to cool enough that you can handle them.

Cut into wedges and place in a largish baking dish — make sure the potatoes are not crowded or on top of each other.

Mix through the sumac, sea salt , ground black pepper and olive oil. Bake at 200degC until crisp and crunchy.

Lemon mayonnaise-tartare sauce

2 egg yolks

grapeseed oil

zest and juice of a small lemon

salt and pepper

6 small gherkins, chopped finely

2 tsp capers, chopped finely

2 Tbsp parsley, chopped finely


Whizz the egg yolks in a food processor. As it is running, drizzle in the oil — very, very slowly — until the mixture is thick . Add lemon juice, seasoning. Remove from the bowl and stir through chopped gherkins, capers and parsley.

Panko crumbed sole fillets

Once your potatoes are cooked and salad made, you can start cooking the fish. It will only take a couple of minutes and they need to be served hot and crispy.

4 sole fillet (1-2 per person)

½ cup flour,

1 egg, whisked ,

1 cup panko crumbs


In three flattish bowls place flour, egg and panko crumbs. Dip the sole fillets in each individually — first flour, then eggs, then panko crumbs. Place in a single layer on a plate.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Gently add the fish to the hot oil until golden on one side — use two forks to turn over and brown on remaining side. Place on paper towel while you cook remaining fillets.

Whole pan-fried flounder with rosti with grilled feta and cherry tomatoes

Whole pan-fried flounder 

Dust the flounders in seasoned flour.

Pan fry each side gently in a shallow frying pan with 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and a knob of butter. Transfer to a plate — keep warm and repeat with remaining flounders.

Rosti with grilled feta and cherry tomatoes

500g potatoes, peeled, parboiled and cooled

100g feta cheese, diced

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and ground black pepper


Grate cooled potatoes into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a small frying pan with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and a knob of butter. Pile the grated potatoes into the frying pan and press down with a spatula. Cook on a high heat until the bottom of the rosti is golden. Place a plate on top of the frying pan — tip over and the rosti will drop out. Slide back into your frying pan and brown the underside. Scatter with feta cheese and halved cherry tomatoes. Season. Place under a hot grill until starting to brown.

Smoked seafood crepes

This crepe base is so versatile and you may just like sugar and lemon juice. We always enjoy stuffed crepes as they can be made in advance and reheated and filled with anything from vegetables, mince ragu, chicken and of course my favourite is seafood.


1 cup flour

1 egg

1 cup milk


Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or whisk in a bowl. Blend until the thickness of cream (it may require more milk). Rest for 30 minutes.

Heat a small heavy based frying pan. Ladle in batter, tipping to cover the base and sides (it should be as thin as possible). Cook until set. Flip over and repeat. Stack on a plate .

Seafood version

500g smoked fish (I used warehou)

250g smoked mussels

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 cup white wine

1 cup cream/milk

1 cup fish stock


Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a saucepan. Saute onion slices in olive oil and butter. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in white wine and cream, followed by the stock.

Add half smoked fish to the sauce. Lay six pancakes on a board. Place remainder of smoked fish and 3 mussels evenly down the middle on each pancake.

Spoon over the sauce, reserving half a cup.

Roll up and place filled crepes into a baking dish, side by side. Add half a cup of cream/milk to the remaining sauce.

Pour over the top of the filled crepes.

I topped my crepes with blanched spinach, tomato slices and grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 200degC for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Greg Piner
Greg Piner
Greg Piner

I’m seeing a lot more people cooking at home now, with amazing social media stories as whole families get involved in putting a meal on the table.

Some local companies over this time have set up delivery services so you can get your fix of fresh seafood or meat to your door.

The excitement of someone coming up the driveway is a semi-emotional experience at the moment and my whole family is glued to the window seeing what treats are arriving.

I used the local crew at Harbour Fish to deliver to our front door a box of fresh blue cod, some mussels and crayfish.

Grilled mussel half shell with red onion, cheddar crumble, miso mayo

Mussels to me are seriously underrated and are a super tasty and healthy option.

Here is a recipe that is sure to please. It’s very easy and the crust can also be a great addition to a lasagna or a roast chicken.

1 box ½ shell mussels

1 red onion, diced

150g panko breadcrumbs

1 stalk fresh rosemary

150g cheddar

100ml oil

salt, cracked pepper

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Miso mayo

100g mayonnaise (I use Best Foods)

1 tsp miso paste

1 tsp Dijon mustard


Heat oven to 185degC fan bake or bake.

Finely dice red onion and rosemary.

Place breadcrumbs into a bowl and add the onion, rosemary, mustard and oil.

Grate cheese (on the finest cutter) and lightly fold it into the mixture.

Add cracked black pepper.

Once mixed, place into half mussels with a even coating.

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

Miso mayo

Place all ingredients into bowl and mix to combine.

Once mussels are cooked, add a teaspoon of the mixture to top.

Karitane crayfish with tomato chilli butter

1 crayfish

1 packet flat leaf parsley

3 tomatoes

1 chili

250g butter, softened

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp mustard

1 nori sheet

1 lemon


Heat oven to 180degC, set on fan grill or bake.

Place fresh crayfish into freezer for about 10 minutes to slow them down (if fresh/alive).

Remove and spike between eyes.

Then cut in half, remove vein from tail.

Place butter in mixer and whip until the it becomes white.

Finely cut chili, and garlic.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon to butter mix.

Remove tomato seeds and dice remaining flesh.

Finely cut flat leaf parsley.

Add above ingredients and fold into butter mix with mustard and freshly cracked pepper.

Spoon over crayfish from head to tail.

Place in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until crayfish meat is firm to touch.

Finely slice nori sheet.

Remove crayfish from oven and plate, garnish with nori and season with cracked pepper.

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