Sustainable fish and how to cook it

  • By
    Hannah Williams - Editor - bbcgoodfood.com

Want to source your fish supper sustainably but not sure how to cook it? Fish restaurateur, Malcolm John shares his top tips for cooking an alternative catch.

 

Grilled dab with garlic butterDab

Similar to plaice and sole, cooked dab has a flaky texture with a sweet and juicy flavour. Previously discarded from fishing hauls, an increased awareness of sustainable fishing has seen dab reappear on chip shop menus. 

Malcolm says: "Roast whole, with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Serve with capers, lemon segments and parsley." 

Or try it in: Grilled dab with garlic butter.

 

Mediterranean fish stew with garlic toastsHalibut

The largest flatfish in the ocean, halibut is a delicious white-fleshed fish with a firm, meaty texture. 

Malcolm says: "Oven roast supreme in olive oil, serve with steamed clams and samphire." 

Or try it in: Mediterranean fish stew with garlic toasts.


 

Panfried sea bass with citrus-dressed broccoliBass

Similar to sea bream, bass is found throughout the North Atlantic. Its sweet flavours and meaty texture has seen it's popularity soar in recent years and it is now a restaurant menu regular. 

Malcolm says: "Serve whole roasted on the bone with homemade tartar sauce and lemon." 

Or try it in: Panfried seabass with citrus dressed broccoli

 

Tandoori spiced sea breamBream

Popular owing to its versatility sea bream boasts a firm, succulent meat, which can be grilled, baked, poached or fried. 

Malcolm says: "Gut and stuff with thyme, fennel and lemon peel, char grill or oven bake, and served with a lemon wedge." 

Or try it in: Tandoori spiced sea bream


 

Friday night fish pieGurnard

Gurnards can be rather bony and lack flavour so they're usually quite cheap from fishmongers. With a little care and a lot of flavour however the fish makes a great addition to soups and starters. 

Malcolm says: "Use the bones used to make a broth with tomatoes, celery, garlic and saffron. Cut the fillet into pieces, poach and serve in the broth, for a light fish soup." 

Or try it in: Friday night fish pie

 

Mussels, white wine and parsleyMussels

Once regarded as the poor relation of the shellfish family because of their small size and relative abundance, mussels are now very popular and fairly cheap. 

Malcolm says: "Steam them in wine, shallots, garlic and cream. Finish with parsley and serve with crusty bread." 

Or try them in: Mussels, white wine and parsley

 

Thai style steamed charArctic char

As it's name suggests, the Arctic char is, most commonly found in the Arctic Ocean as well as the lakes and streams of Northern Europe. Similar to trout and salmon in appearance and flavour, it is farmed extensively in North America. 

What Malcolm says: "Fry the fillets in a pan with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, serve with a lemon wedge and homemade tartare sauce." 

Or try it in: Thai-style steamed fish

 

Peppered mackerel fish cakesMackerel

In abundance throughout the Atlantic Sea, mackerel is a strong flavoured oily fish, which lends itself well to smoking. In season from April to September mackerel are at their peak in July. 

What Malcolm says: "Try them hot smoked using oak wood chip, and hard herbs, serve with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce." 

Or try it in: Peppered mackerel fishcakes

 

Buttery trout with capersTrout

Farmed rainbow trout has pretty, spotty skin with a rainbow sheen, and is the most widely available variety in Britain. It is relatively inexpensive with a sweet, succulent flesh that is fantastic grilled or poached and served with a large dollop of mayonnaise. 
Brown trout is harder to come by, make friends with a fisherman so you can experience the creamy meaty texture, and succulent white flesh. 

What Malcolm says: "Lightly poach the fillet in white wine, water, garlic, onion, hard herbs. Poach till pink and serve with braised fennel and a lemon wedge." 

Or try it in: Buttery trout with capers

Spanish sardines on toast
Sardines

Sardines are named after the island of Sardinia, where they were once found in abundance. Found in shoals throughout the Atlantic and Mediterranean, sardines have a silver skin and a rich-flavoured flesh that is dark in colour. 

Malcolm says: "Fillet and cook under a grill, serve with roasted cherry tomatoes, parsley and capers." 

Or try them in: Spanish sardines on toast

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