Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.
Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!
Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;
White Sea Fish
- White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
- White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
- Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
- The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
- With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
- Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.
- Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
- Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
- Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.
Fresh Water Fish
Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char
Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)
Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish
You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.
Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.
We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.
However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of their to-do list.
Anyway, enough of all that let’s get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;
Catch of the Day, Plaice
This maybe due to its historical links as food for the poor, or because of the suggestion of bland deep fried breaded plaice served in pubs and motorway service stations across the country.
In our opinion plaice is a superb fish possessing a fine, moist texture and subtle but distinct taste and cooked the right way it makes a simple, healthy, economical, and absolutely yummy lunch or supper.
Plaice is available throughout the year though the quality varies throughout the year.
From summer through to midwinter outside the spawning season, it is by and large much fleshier and tastier.
During the Victorian era, plaice was plentiful and cheap and up to 30 million plaice were sold each year at Billingsgate Market plus along with herring was a mainstay of the diet of London’s poorest inhabitants.
Plaice is well-liked all over Europe, with Britain and Denmark being the chief consumers, followed by Sweden, France, and Spain.
Look for bright orange spots and clear protruding eyes these are the signs of fresh plaice.
Put your fish and/or shellfish in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.
When you bring it back from the fishmonger, unwrap, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.
Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for best flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh seafood no longer than two days before use, for best quality, it’s best to use fresh seafood in its fresh state.
If it’s necessary to freeze the fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.
Preparing and Cooking Plaice
Plaice is a very versatile fish that reacts perfectly to grilling, baking, poaching, and frying and you can always use it instead of soles such as Lemon, Megrim, and Witch.
For the best flavour, cook plaice on the bone.
Our favourite quick way to cook it is to fillet it (your fishmonger will do this) and then lightly flour the fillets and fry them for a short time on each side in a little oil and serve with a pat of garlic butter, prepared by mixing butter with a little crushed garlic and chopped parsley it’s so tasty.
- Lemon And Ginger Plaice. (gwenacaster.wordpress.com)
- Cornish catch of the day (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Forgotten fish angle for tastier Scots dish (scotsman.com)