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.
Oil Rich Fish
- 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;
Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream
The black bream or as its known down in the West country the Porgy or Sea Bream is a splendid looking fish with a bright charcoal grey/silvery skin with allusions of pink and gold in colour with a sweet solid flesh the sweetness comes from it’s diet which is for the most part small shellfish.
It is usually available all year round but when caught close to British shores between the summer months of June to September is when it is at its peak, and is mouth-watering tasty when cooked and eaten whole after being stuffed and then baked, or as fillets, when talking with other chef’s a lot of them recommend this fish and think it very undervalued.
Buying Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream
With its pink opaque flesh, the attractiveness of Black Bream continues to grow it has a slightly sweeter taste to its alternative the Sea Bass, and can be cooked in the same way as Bass and other varieties of Bream.
Usually sold whole or as fillets, ask your fishmonger to remove the scales for you as these are rather tough.
You can substitute sea bream for red snapper or sea bass if you can’t find it and please try to go for Black bream caught with Rod and Line or Gillnet as a more sustainable option.
The Cornish, North Wales and Sussex Sea fisheries committees have the finest supervision for black bream and are at present the most sustainable locations to source from.
Storing Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream
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 Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream
Prepare and cook as for Sea Bass, we like to cook the fillets in the Spanish way in a moderate oven on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes, onion, and garlic and splashed with white wine and lots of olive oil.
- Spicy, Lacquered Sea Bream (cookinginsens.wordpress.com)
- Chef Tom Thai’s sea bream ceviche so simple, anyone could make it (thestar.com)
- Pembrokeshire Fish Week a great Family holiday idea for the UK, Festivals (visitwales.co.uk)
- Vegan White ‘Fish’ Fillets Pouched in White Wine with Mushrooms (plantbaseddietadventures.com)
- Top ten: Scottish seafood treats to tickle the taste buds (scotsman.com)