Seafood Week is an eight-day national campaign encouraging the UK public to eat more fish more often and celebrate the plethora of seafood available in the UK. The campaign is run by Seafish, the industry authority on seafood, and will see a host of different organisations – from major brands to hotels, restaurants and fish & chip shops – getting involved with daily deals, competitions and events
After an eight-year break, last year’s return of Seafood Week resulted in an estimated boost to the seafood industry of £18 million, according to Seafish. Needless to say, the plan is to topple last year’s figure; Seafish is encouraging anyone who has anything to do with fish to join the campaign both for their benefit and the good of the industry as a whole.
Mel Groundsell, corporate relations director at Seafish says: “Seafood Week is about promoting and celebrating the seafood industry – and encouraging the public to eat more fish more often.
“There are plenty of opportunities for businesses to take part in this year’s campaign and I would like to encourage operators from right across the supply chain to get involved. Those who would like to work with us as partners, or in other capacities, should get in touch with our Seafood Week team through our website www.seafoodweek.co.uk.”
Day 1 – Cod
A superb whitefish to which chefs are returning with renewed enthusiasm now that sustainable (e.g. MSC certified) stocks are widely available. The cod has a long, tapered body with a mixture of sandy-browns, greyish-greens and darker speckles. Whole cod range from 500g to over 6kg with smaller fish (500g to 1.8kg) sometimes known as codling. While fillets from smaller fish are most commonly used, cod is at its best when loins or suprêmes are cut from larger 4-6kg fish, giving a meatier portion with large, succulent flakes of pure white. As for cooking, cod is very versatile and takes most flavours, but requires care as it is easily over-cooked.
Great alternatives are coley, pollack, whiting and ling.
Day 2 – Mussels
The UK grows fantastic mussels and they make a fine starter, lunch or main course. There is an old myth about only eating mussels in months of the year that have an ‘R’ in their name, but actually whatever the season, rain or shine, mussels are perfect to enjoy any day of the year.
Rope-grown mussels are available year round although not at their best in the summer months. Dredged mussels can be much cheaper, but need more cleaning to remove the sand and grit. Dredging is carried out from August through to May.
Classic recipes such as moules marinières and moules provençale are rightly popular – and paella wouldn’t be the same without them.
Other similar shellfish include clams, whelks or razor clams.
Day 3 – Mackerel
A great-value fish with a distinctive bold flavour, mackerel is packed with healthy oils that make it healthy as well as delicious.
One of the richest sources of omega-3, mackerel has greyish flesh with a rich flavour, which is best grilled or baked.
Any sauce should be sharp to complement its rich flavour – try gooseberry, sorrel, rhubarb, cranberry, redcurrant or mustard and avoid anything creamy or buttery. Marinating in citrus juices is also good. As with most oily fish, it is good for smoking, and makes a great paté.
Looking for an alternative? Try sardines, herring or salmon.
Day 4 – Prawns
Plump juicy prawns are a real favourite in the UK. Hot or cold, there is so much you can do with these spectacular shellfish. Prawns are the ultimate ingredient for a speedy seafood supper as they cook very quickly and can even be cooked from frozen.
Day 5 – Plaice
This mild-flavoured fish is easily identified by the distinctive orange spots on its skin, which also give an indication of the freshness (the brighter the spots, the fresher the plaice).
It has as pronounced a flavour as lemon sole, but it takes sauces and other flavours very well, and is great for battering.
Cook on the bone (with the black skin removed) to get the best from the flavour, or use fillets with a sauce or filling. Best avoided when post spawning (around February to April), as the flesh then tends to be thin and watery.
Other similar fish include lemon sole, flounder and dab.
Day 6 – Sardines
For such a little fish, sardines have a delicious bold flavour and plenty of healthy omega-3 oils.
For alternatives try herring, mackerel or salmon.
Day 7 – Tuna
With its firm, rich red meat, you could almost describe this as the ‘cow of the sea’ and – as with steak – tuna is best seared on the outside, rare in the centre.
This fish has a great flavour that stands both on its own or with any number of flavours – Oriental, Mediterranean, spices and chillies; just avoid creamy sauces as this is an oily fish.
Tuna can be flash grilled, griddled or pan-fried but avoid baking as it will dry out. Tinned tuna is also ideal for including in sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes and fishcakes.
Day 8 – Haddock
Haddock is a delicious whitefish that is particularly versatile – try it battered, breaded, baked, fried or in pies.
The flesh is not quite as white as cod, or as flaky, but it has a slightly sweeter taste, which is what makes haddock the best whitefish for smoking. Smoked haddock forms the basis for lots of classic comforting dishes such as kedgeree and cullen skink.
There is plenty of haddock in UK waters, so we should be eating more of this fantastic fish, says Seafish.
Some great alternatives include cod, pollack and coley.
Mackerel with an Asian Salad
- mackerel fillets
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 60ml oil
FOR THE ASIAN SALAD
- 2 red chillies
- Bunch of coriander
- ½ red pepper
- ½ yellow pepper
- 12 mint leaves
- 4 shallots
- 20 mange tout
- 2 lime leaves
- Prepare the salad before you cook the fish as it takes under 5 minutes to cook the mackerel.
- Finely slice the chillies, shallots, lime leaves and the mange tout (blanch first) then add the thinly sliced peppers and finally add the coriander. If you won’t use up the other half of the peppers you can just use one.
- Heat a non-stick pan, add the fish skin-side down and cook for 2 minutes or until the skin starts to go crisp then turn over and cook for 1 minute on the other side.
Serve the salad on a plate, placing the mackerel halved on top and then drizzle your favourite dressing on top to finish your creation.
- 1kg fresh, live mussels
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, core removed and cut into cubes
- 300ml apple juice
- Zest and juice 1 lemon
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Fresh dill, to garnish
- Prepare the mussels: check all the mussels are closed and discard any that are open or don’t close with a gentle tap, together with any that are cracked or damaged. Pull off the beard and scrub with a stiff brush under cold running water to remove any barnacles.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large wide saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the apple and cook for 1 minute. Add the apple juice, lemon zest and juice, and thyme, and bring to the boil.
- Add the mussels, shake the saucepan a few times and cover with a lid. Cook for about 2 minutes, then shake the mussels again. Cook for another 6-8 minutes, until all mussels have opened.
- Discard any unopened mussels and serve immediately, garnished with dill.
Brown Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
- 170g crab meat (50/50 white and brown meat from a brown crab)
- 90g low-fat cream cheese
- 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley leaves
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large or 6 medium portobello mushrooms, stalks removed
- 3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- Cooking oil spray
- Mixed salad leaves, to serve 6 roasted cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Combine the crab meat, cream cheese, parsley, spring onions and parmesan. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the mushrooms on a non-stick baking tray. Fill with the mixture and top with the breadcrumbs. Spray with oil then place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is hot and melted.
- Serve with the salad leaves and roasted tomatoes.
- 4 x 170g cod fillets or any other white fish
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 2 Granny Smith apples, core removed and diced
- 2 red peppers, diced
- 400ml tin reduced-fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander, to garnish
- 500g cooked basmati rice
- 2 chapatis, halved
- Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for a few minutes until translucent. Add the curry powder, apples and peppers and cook gently for 1 minute. Next add the fish chunks and stir in the coconut milk.
- Turn the heat down slightly so all the ingredients are simmering and cook for 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through. The sauce should reduce and thicken slightly - if it hasn’t, don’t worry just give it an extra few minutes to simmer.
- Serve with the rice and chapatis, garnished with the coriander.
For more recipe inspiration and loads of information about the health benefits of seafood, check out Seafish’s website www.fishisthedish.co.uk, and www.seafoodweek.co.uk. Sign up to the newsletter for competition prizes and health tips at www.fishisthedish.co.uk/kitchen-talk/ezine.