Three Spice Pan fried White Fish

Sorry fishy… namely the orange roughy that was consumed in my house not all that long ago, that on this very blog I publicly announced my family was eating. See even 3 months ago I was going along thinking this lovely white gleaming fillet was just perfect for little plates, not so much my wallet (didn’t think much about that as it looked good) … within a week I read that orange roughy has the worst ecological ranking and is massively over-fished causing terrible damage to marine life from bottom trawling. My purchase and lack of knowledge (how did I not know this by the way?!) just made me feel like the complete opposite of the person I am trying to be. A good friend even called me out on it and I felt so embarrassed! So, I am sorry lovely little unsustainable fishy, I promise to never, ever buy you again.

The one thing to stop me from feeling hideously guilty when I make an environmental blunder such as the above, is to remember that learning about our food and where it comes from is a journey, and I have learnt my lesson and moved on to more sustainable fish to fry …. READ before you buy so you KNOW what you are buying and know HOW it made its way to the packaging in front of you. Sometimes my head is pounding after reading the multiple articles, websites and labels but it really is worth that overwhelmed feeling to know exactly what you are putting into your family’s tummies.

It isn’t just fish we research, it is all animal protein. Finding butchers, chicken farmers and fishmongers that are paleo friendly isn’t that difficult. Google is a good buddy to me and has helped me track down some awesome retailers with similar ethical requirements to us. I try to go to the shops at times that aren’t busy so I can have a bit of a yarn with the staff and get a bit of information about the farms, animals and importantly what these animals are fed and how they’re cared for. If I can’t get a straight answer I usually won’t buy anything.

Eating paleo means buying grass fed organic produce where possible. The way nature intended. Doesn’t that make more sense anyway? And to not pump in the hormones and antibiotics while they stand up to their knees in their own poo in a barren enclosure munching corn and other grains all the while being completely exposed to the conditions. Heard of a feed-lot? Bleurgh. And what about pork? Don’t get me started. Oooops, maybe I already have a little bit …. only because being aware of where your food has come from and how it was raised is pretty darn important to my husband and I.

So what’s a good alternative to unsustainable species then? I always go for wild caught fish, never farmed fish. Yes that means almost no salmon and various other lovely species but if you dive into the research on fish farming, you’ll find things are generally pretty grim. There are a few slightly better aquaculture techniques but we just avoid buying them where possible. Whiting, Trevally, Mullet, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi. All lovely and sustainable fish but if you really want to get down and dirty with the facts, go to the following links and they will point out if there are any concerns about the fishing of those species as well a useful tools to help you choose ethically. The Sustainable Seafood Guide and  GoodFishBadFish. These are Australian websites but they have some good general info.

Finally a recipe!! This is easy, tasty and ridiculously quick. I find it works best with white fleshed fish fillets. The seasoning is pretty flexible so if you like a particular ingredient more then just add slightly more … to be honest I don’t measure much so these ratios may not suit your tastebuds.

Three Spice Fish DSC_0499

Serves 2 adults, 2-3 kids.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 – 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets.


400 grams approx deboned fish fillets

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp toasted cumin seeds, pounded (ground cumin can be used to save time but there’s a bit more yummy with toasted cumin)

1 tsp paprika 2 tsp garlic powder (I don’t use fresh as it is likely to either undercook and just fall off anyway, same goes for the onion)

1 tsp onion powder

A generous knob of grass fed butter or 2 heaped tbsp coconut oil,

Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon or lime wedge

Fresh coriander bunch


Gently pat the fillets dry with paper towel.

Combine the spices, garlic, onion and salt and pepper in a bowl and massage between your fingers. Get the pan ready and put the butter in so it melts.

Sprinkle one side of the fillet with the mixture and put covered side down into the heated medium/low pan. You should have an unseasoned side facing up so sprinkle that next.

Cook until you see the fillet is white (cooked) about 3/4 of the way up the side then flip the fillet over and cook for another 2-3 minutes maximum. Remember cooking time varies depending on the thickness of your fillet. If you are not confident, just check it by cutting it in half and if cooked you will see firm/flaky flesh not firm -still could be sushi- flesh.

Serve with a salad and Kate’s  baked sweet potato chips. A  good squeeze of your preferred citrus and loads of fresh coriander!

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