Chef Tu Fearn cooks a delicious fish main course

In this episode of New Zealand on a Plate, respected chef Tu Fearn makes a delicious main with fresh Porae, and of course, Olivado’s delicious avocado oil.


In TVNZ’s top rated show New Zealand on a Plate, respected Chef Tu Fearn makes a delicious main with fresh Porae, and of course, Olivado’s delicious avocado oil.

Tu Fearn left school at the age of sixteen to work as a kitchen hand, and served under some of Auckland’s top chefs, including Peter Gordon and Sean Connolly. He became head chef at Harbourside just over a year ago now, and overlooks a team of fifteen other chefs, plus the kitchen hands. “It’s challenging at times,” says Tu, “it’s a big responsibility, there’s a lot to deal with, a lot to look after, but I really enjoy the challenge.”

Auckland has some of the finest eateries in the world, and the Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill is one of its best. Reopened in November 2013 after an extensive, six-month refurbishment program, the restaurant sits in the iconic Ferry Building, overlooking the waterfront in the heart of the CBD.


Recipe for the Main Course


Pan-fried Porae


Fennel and spanner crab salad


Smoked kowiniwini potato


Pomegranate dressing


The ingredients to make the dish have to be the very best. Fishermen long-line to keep the quality of the catch up, and to ensure they’re not catching any smaller useless fish. Once the fish is caught, it’s kept in a special combination of salt-water, ice and sea-water. It’s kept cold enough not to freeze it, but keeps it chilled enough to preserve it. This method not only keeps the fish’s colour, texture and freshness, but it can be kept longer before eating.

The type of fish Tu is using is called a Porae. Caught in the Gulf of Hauraki and straight off the boat, the Porae is a rapidly growing fish, growing up to 28cms in its first year. A close relative to the Terakihi, the biggest difference is the bigger lips. “The first thing you want to look for,” advices Tu, “is the gills. Make sure they’re a nice bright red colour. Also the eyes. Make sure the eyes are nice and clear, not sunken in or bloody. Finally, look at the flesh, making sure it’s nice and firm.”

Olivado avocado oil with lemon zest

Only the freshest fish will do and of course, only the very best in avocado oil. That’s why chef Fearn uses Olivado in preparing the fish. “Olivado’s avocado oil is nice and buttery, goes really well with fish and has a high smoking temperature,” explains Tu. This particular avocado oil that Tu is using is enhanced with a lemon zest. Combining the cool and mild taste of Hass avocado with the flavour of fresh lemon, the oil is an excellent choice for seafood and is perfect for high heat cooking up to 255°C.

Olivado Avocado Lemon Zest combines all the health benefits of Olivado Extra Virgin Avocado Oil with the added benefits of the natural antioxidants of fresh lemons. Like all Olivado oils, Olivado Avocado Lemon Zest is bottled in dark glass to further ensure long life.

Making sure his pan is really hot, Tu pours the Olivado oil over the fillets, seasons both sides with a bit of salt, and then adds them skin side down. “You want to cook the fish 90% on the skin,” says Tu, “Press the flesh down so the skin sets in the pan, then turn it over at the last minute and let it rest.”

While the fish is cooking Tu makes a dressing, which is a pomegranate molasses. Using Olivado’s avocado oil because it has fresh lemons in it, Tu uses one part molasses to two parts avocado oil. Mixed through with a pinch of salt and the dressing is ready to go! Tu also makes an avocado puree, using fresh avocados, crème fraiche, anchovies, garlic and of course, Olivado’s avocado oil.

Last but not least are the potatoes; native Kowiniwini. Boiled then smoked, Tu adds them to the pan with the fish, seasoning them both with salt and of course, more Olivado’s avocado oil. Put it all together and you’ve got a stunning dish, that’s not only delicious but healthy.

Pan fried Porae

Crispy skin Porae with fennel crab salad, avocado puree and smoked potatoes, all covered in a delicious pomegranate dressing. And the heart of the dish? Olivado’s avocado oil.

If you would like to try this recipe yourself, you can buy Olivado’s avocado oil here. Let us know how it goes!

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