The Golden Redfish

The Golden Redfish

Fannar Vernharðsson, head chef at Mathús Garðabæjar and a long-standing member of our national team, offers us his expert take on the golden redfish. We asked him if he could share any tips on how to prepare it and he immediately set to work on creating a dish especially for FÆÐA|FOOD Magazine.

According to Fannar, people are often a little scared of cooking the golden redfish. “I’m not sure why; it’s probably due to the fact most people are more comfortable cooking cod or haddock. The golden redfish should be used more though; it’s just as tasty as cod but slightly firmer and more fatty. It’s versatile enough and can be marinated, pan-fried or deep fried in batter,” says Fannar, who reckons one of the best ways to prepare it is by lightly salting it, then letting it stand for an hour before scoring the skin. “This prevents the fish from curling when you fry it, and the skin cooks nicely, too. You can use any spice you like with the golden redfish, but my personal preference is to salt it and let the delicious flavours of the fish itself come through.” Let’s give it a try, shall we?

Golden Redfish Recipe

“I start by preparing the mashed potatoes and cauliflower. This can be a classic recipe for mashed potatoes but the trick is to use cream and lots of butter. I put a whole cauliflower head in an ovenproof tray, pour the butter over, which I have browned on a pan, and then put the tray in the oven. I regularly pour the butter over the cauliflower in the oven and let it bake for 30–40 minutes or until it is soft. When I take the cauliflower out of the oven, I put grated cheese over it; I like to use the Icelandic cheeses Ísbúi or Jarlinn. The cauliflower is always a big hit in my home and it can be served with anything at all. The mushrooms are then sautéed in butter on a pan and seasoned with salt and pepper. The ponzu sause is one part lime juice and one part good sojasauce (Yamasa or Tamari); I then add browned butter, about equal to the amount of ponzu, and to this I add various fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, coriander, mint, spring onions, whatever people like.

I fry the golden redfish on one side in oil until that side is golden brown; then I turn the fish over and put a bit of butter on the pan. When this starts bubbling, I pour the butter over the fish, take the pan off the stove and either let the fish rest on the pan or immediately take it off. It depends on the thickness of the fish how long it is kept on the pan but it is very important not to have it there for too long. Then you just arrange everything on the plate and top it with kale, voila!”

Golden redfish (Gullkarfi) illustration

The golden redfish is one of the most common and exploitable fish in Icelandic waters. The main markets for the golden redfish are Germany, China, Japan and France.

The golden redfish in Icelandic waters has been sustainably sourced since 2014. Certified by the FAO-based Iceland Responsible Fisheries Management Certification Programme.

The growth of the golden redfish is very slow. Maturity is not reached until at the age of 12-15 years old. By then the fish is around 35 cm long.

The golden redfish is usually not larger than 40-50 cm when caught but in rare cases it grows up to 100 cm and 15 kg.

The golden redfish is most commonly found around the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.

The golden redfish is one of very few bony fish that gives birth to living offspring in the ocean.

While handling the golden redfish you can get stung by its sharp fins. An old remedy is to cut slime from the fish’s eyes and smear it on the wound. By doing so an infection can be avoided and it also limits the pain and swelling caused by the sting.

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