A South African Eating Out Favourite: Everything you ever wanted to know about Kingklip

A South African Eating Out Favourite: Everything you ever wanted to know about Kingklip

When eating out, especially eating out in South Africa’s coastal areas, there is always an extremely good chance you’ll find Kingklip on the menu, even at restaurants with a very limited seafood offering. Whether having a chilled-out fish braai at home or indulging at the finest eating out restaurants, Kingklip is undoubtedly South Africa’s favourite fish.

What is a Kingklip?

The Kingklip is one of many eel-like fishes enjoyed around the globe. It is endemic to the whole Southern Hemisphere and is, predictably, one of the most important commercial fish for us in South Africa.

They are fished from deep ocean waters, up to 1000 metres deep, and can grow to be as long as two metres.

Why is Kingklip so popular in the South African Kitchen?

As a fish with an elongated, eel-like body, the fillets are long and even in thickness, rather than thick at one end and thin at the other, as in the case of many other round fish. The fillets of a Kingklip are also boneless, making for quick preparation and easy eating.

The raw flesh varies from a pearly white to a delicate rose colour, and cooks to a perfect milky white. When cooked, the fillets are firm and flake beautifully. Kingklip has a slightly sweet, meaty flavour which takes extremely well to seasoning and sauces.

How to Cook it

Kingklip is lean and firm, and therefore well suited to pan frying. Ideally, you should pan sea it on both sides and finish it off in a hot oven, as it is done in the best eating out restaurants around the world. With its delicate flavour and robust texture, Kingklip also poaches and steams well. If you love French fare, you might poach it in a white-wine based sauce. For an Asian twist, it can be steamed in a bamboo steamer, topped with shredded chillies, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and soy sauce.

While it can also be grilled, it tends not to hold together too well on the grill. Using a specially designed fish basket for placing on the braai, or wrapping the fillets in tin foil will help.

Kingklip also makes great fish and chips, remaining moist and flaky in a coating of beer batter or breadcrumbs. Many South Africans are particularly fond of fish pies and casserole, and Kingklip is a firm favourite in these preparations too.

The name Kingklip comes from the Dutch term for “Rock King”, and we completely agree! Kingklip really is the king of the table, and here at Pigalle, our whole baby Kingklip is one of our most popular fish dishes. This delicate but versatile fish should go some way to reducing many peoples’ nerves about cooking fish at home, but if you’re still a little apprehensive you can always drop in at your nearest Pigalle restaurant and let us do the cooking for you.

Image credit: via Pinterest