Category Archives: FISH & SEAFOOD

Garlic prawns

Garlic prawns

Garlic prawns are a diamond coming from Catalan cuisine. As an appetiser for a dinner party, or one of the many tapas you tuck in to over a glass of wine and some good conversation, garlic prawns are sure to be a hit. Serve in cazuelas de barro (earthenware ramekins) for a particularly authentic approach. Cold-water prawns are sold ready-cooked, either peeled or with the shell still on. Warm-water prawns are rarely peeled, but are sold raw and cooked in the shell. Both types of prawns, when sold raw, are likely to have been frozen at some point, even if you buy them chilled: check the label before purchasing if you want to freeze them. If you’re not intending to use the prawns immediately, it’s best to buy them already frozen.

Grilled kippers with lemon butter

Grilled kippers with lemon butter

A kipper is a whole herring, a small, oily fish, that has been split in butterfly fashion from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted or pickled, and cold smoked over smouldering woodchips (typically oak). “Cold smoked” fish, that have not been salted for preservation, need to be cooked before being eaten safely (they can be boiled, fried, grilled, jugged or roasted, for instance). “Kipper snacks,” (see below) are precooked and may be eaten without further preparation. In the United Kingdom, kippers are often served for breakfast, tea or dinner. In the United States, where kippers are less commonly eaten than in the UK, they are almost always sold as either canned “kipper snacks” or in jars found in the refrigerated foods section. As an oily fish high in Omega 3, kippers are quick and easy to cook, whether frozen, “in the bag” or chilled. They have been out of favour for decades, shunned by consumers as the breakfast of the war generation and difficult to eat – if easy to smell.

Braised squid in tomato sauce

Braised squid in tomato sauce

Calamari or squid, along with its friends the cuttlefish and octopus, are much loved in Italy, and are cooked in a variety of ways depending on region and taste. Some squid can be enormous, weighing several kilos each, though you can also find much smaller baby squid (calamaretti). It is great to braise squid in tomato sauce like this, though they are equally delicious cooked with potatoes, stuffed and stewed, simple grilled with lemon, or fried as part of a fritto misto. In Venice the squid ink is used to colour risotto and pasta – a good example of how Italian cooking wastes nothing. Preparing squid is easy once you know how: cut off the tentacles, then feel around on the inside of the squid’s body for a long, plastic-like shard called the ‘quill’ and pull it out. Reserve the silvery ink-sac from the innards to colour the dish later. Peel the purple and white skin from the squid meat. Remove the ‘beak’ from the tentacles – it resembles a small white piece of bone with a hole in the middle. The tentacles and squid body can both be used in cooking.

Gravadlax

Gravadlax

Gravadlax (or gravlax) is Scandinavian method of pickling fresh salmon, and a lovely recipe for a party. Serve it with thin slices of dark rye bread. You will find it easier to slice if it has been frozen for about 4 hours beforehand. Gravadlax is usually served as an appetizer, sliced thinly and accompanied by hovmästarsås (literally steward sauce, also known as gravlaxsås), a dill and mustard sauce, either on bread of some kind, or with boiled potatoes. During the Middle Ages, gravadlax was made by fishermen, who salted the salmon and lightly fermented it by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line.

Cod and bean stew

Cod and bean stew

Cod and bean stew is an easy dish to make. Cod is a popular white fish despite having been over-fished. Ensure that you buy fish that comes from a carefully controlled source, or else use an alternative fish, such as hoki, hake, haddock, whiting, coley or pollack. Basically, any white fish would work quite well. All ingredients, a fresh cod, luxurious saffron and smoked paprika-spiced beans,  are cooked in one pot and make this divine dish. It is not heavy  or too spicy, but still can warm you up in colder days. The special additions to this dish is grilled pepper and pimentón.