Plaice is a delicious fish. It’s often over-looked on menus and fish slabs for some reason, but I love it! It’s extremely quick and easy to cook, versatile (grill, fry, bake or poach) and is fabulous to eat – its fine, moist texture and delicate flavour making it ideal for family meals and entertaining alike. Better still it is high in protein, low in fat and calories.
It’s in season for most of the year from May – December, but at its best in the summer. When buying plaice I look for nice bright orange spots on it’s pretty skin and perky, clear eyes.
Whilst UK fish stocks aren’t what they used to be there is still an awful lot of fantastic fish out there. Supporting your local fish monger or getting down to the coast and chatting to fishermen directly is such a joy and helps keep the industry going.
Recently on a trip to Hythe, on the Kent coast, we visited Griggs of Hythe for brunch. It was a beautiful, crisp spring morning and the hour was most definitely civilised (previous forays to fishing harbours and markets around the world have usually required a 4 or 5am wake up call!).
Whilst walking on the beach a fishing boat came into view and I watched with anticipation as the crew winched the vessel onto the pebble-ridden beach. Their cargo was soon revealed, in laden baskets and crates thrown down onto the beach, each one causing increasing excitement from an ever-growing crowd.
Whelks came first, quickly followed by a crate of beautiful looking cod and bass. Then the stars of the show were revealed – local lobster and scallops sitting pretty in a melange of other briny finds. The lobster weren’t as excited to be there as we were. They were clearly up for a fight and in feisty spirits as they grabbed onto everything they could find, including each other.
Not being able to resist the thought of cooking and eating something so fresh and so special, I was quick to secure a price for both lobster and slipped them, pincers down, into my bag. We made a quick but excited exit and returned with great anticipation to our kitchen.
The lobster were dispatched as humanely as possible (placed into the freezer for 15 minutes to become drowsy) and cooked simply in boiling water, before being served with a delicious and easy beurre blanc.