When visiting Adelburgh Food Festival last weekend we listened to a debate entitled “An Appetite for Change : Suffolk & the Sea”. by Sheila Dillion from the BBC Radio 4 food show discussing the current issues with our fishing industries.
One of the themes that came from the debate is that as a consumer we are not questioning our fishmongers about where the fish is from and how its caught. The reason the industry is in such a mess is that fisherman have a maximum quota of certain species, and when they reach that maximum they have to throw anything extra over board. This has also recently been brought to the attention by programmes like Hugh’s Fish Fight on Channel 4.
Obviously as a consumer there is a limit to what we can do to help this cause; however you can sign up to a petition to put a stop to this waste here:
However I think one of the best ways to help the industry is to have varied fish in your diet. In the UK 80% of fish consumption is of just 4 varieties of fish: tuna, salmon, prawns and cod. As a result we have put lots of pressure on the stocks of these varieties and we neglect a lot of fish that is abundant in the waters around the country. We need to grow to love these different species as well as keeping an eye on seasonality of the fish. This will mean that you can snag yourself a real bargain and also know your eating fish at its best and doing your bit for fish conservation.
There are lots of great fish around at this time of year, from sprats, sardines, whiting, gurnard and the ever present mackerel. As I worked for Loch Fyne Restaurants for several years I’m aware of less-well known species of fish and find it easy to identify and cook them, however the average consumer can be put off by not knowing how to or what goes well with different fishes. My best advice is to get to know your fishmonger who can offer advice on what is great at this time of year and how to prepare and cook your supper.
Colin and Trish who run the Fish shop in The Guineas Newmarket are using new media like Facebook and Twitter to attract customers and help them with updates on whats good this time of year. They are very much leading the way in helping people become aware of all the different fish we are lucky enough to have access to in this country. Follow them on:
They know the importance of sustainability and there ethos mirrors our own at the restaurant, so we we will only be serving sustainable species on the menu when we open.
For this recipe I have chosen whiting which is a lovely alternative to cod or haddock and is about half the price, I picked up 2 big fillets for £3.
It would be fantastic with fish and chips, but as Anne-Maire is a health nut I decided to serve it with a light salsa and baked sweet potato wedges instead.
- 2 fillets of whiting
- 300g of vine tomatoes
- 1/2 a spanish onion
- 1 small chilli
- splash of Aspalls cabernet vinegar
- glug of good olive oil
- xml bunch coriander or basil
- pinch of salt, pepper and sugar
- flour for dusting
- cut the tomatoes in 2 and place in a bowl with seasoning
- finely slice the red onion and add to the tomatoes with the vinegar and oil leave at room temp for 20 mins
- dust the fillets lightly in flour and seasoning, pan fry skin side down for 2 minutes until crispy on the underside.
- when just about cooked through flip the fish over and take off the heat.
- leave for a minute to cook though and serve on a plate with the salsa and potatoes serve with potato wedges on the side.
Roast Sweet Potatoe wedges
- cut the potato into chips, season and lightly oil with some pumpkin oil or veg oil
- sprinkle with some ras el hanout and bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes or until cooked
You can follow Sheila Dillion on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/#!/sheiladillon
Alternatively you can subscribe to the excellent BBC Radio 4 podcast at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/foodprog