Main Meal Recipes > Fish

Bass (May-August)

Bass has a very delicate flesh and is good for baking or poaching. A whole small fish can be grilled.

Sea Bream (June-December)

A rather bony fish with delicate pink flesh. Bake, grill or fry. The scales are coarse and need to be removed.

Brill (All year round but best January-April)

A flat fish with off-white flesh suitable for baking or grilling.

Carp (Best mid June-March)

Fresh water fish. Carp must be soaked in water for 3 hours before cooking to remove the "muddy" taste. Good stuffed and baked.

Cod (Best October-April)

Probably the best known sea fish. Firm white flesh. Good for baking, poaching, grilling or deep frying.

Cod Roe

Cod roe hard (male) or soft (female) can be eaten. They are usually fried. The soft roe are dipped in seasoned flour before frying. Sometimes the hard Roe is deep fried in batter.

Coley (All the year round)

Rather a coarse fleshed fish. Can be boiled, grilled, fried or baked. Sold as fillets or steaks.

Conger Eel (March-October)

Conger Eel is a sea eel with rather coarse white flesh. Best boiled or steamed.

Common Eel (Best September-January)

The Common Eel is sold live and needs to be killed and cooked as soon as possible. Steam, braise or deep fry. This is also the famous East End jellied eel.

Dab (April-January)

A flat fish suitable for grilling or frying. Not very common.

Flounder (September-February)

A flat fish which is very similar to Plaice and Brill. The flesh is a little coarse.

Haddock (All year round but best November –February)

A very well known fish with white flesh sold as steaks or fillets. Good for grilling, frying, baking or poaching.

Hake (In season July-March)

Hake has white flesh and very few bones. It is sold as cutlets and fillets and is best suited to baking.

Halibut (August-April)

A flat fish which can weigh up to 400 lbs with firm white flesh.

Herring (June-March)

A very boney salt water fish. The oily tasty flesh is very good fried in oatmeal or seasoned flour. Herring can also be pickled or soused.

Bloater

A Herring which has been dried, smoked and salted. A Bloater must be cooked on the day of purchase.

Kipper

A smoked Herring. Before smoking kippers are split and soaked in brine. To eat they must be heated in hot water in a pan or jug.

Red Herring

A whole dried and smoked Herring with a very strong flavour.

Rollmop Herring

- marinated Herring fillets. The fillet is rolled around chopped onion, peppercorns and gherkin and marinated in spiced vinegar.

Salted Herring

- whole or gutted Herring in salt. Salted herring need long soaking in water before cooking.

Herring Roe

- hard and soft Roe are eaten and prepared much as Cod Roe.

Whitebait

(February-July)
The young of either the herring or Sprat. Silvery in colour Whitebait are dredged in seasoned flour and deep fried whole. A delicious starter.

Huss

(All year round but best September-May)
A white fleshed fish useful for soups and stews. The Huss is related to the shark family.

Mackerel

(December-March)
An oily sea fish mackerel should be cooked very fresh. Delicious baked or grilled.

Smoked Mackerel

sometimes Smoked Mackerel is covered in crushed black peppercorns. This smoked fish can be eaten hot or cold.

Grey Mullet

(July-February)
A freshwater fish with rather coarse flesh. Best baked, poached or grilled.

Perch

(June 16th - March14th)
A freshwater fish. The scales of Perch need to be scaled to loosen them before removal. Grill whole. Usually only available to anglers.

Pike

(June 16th-March14th)
Pike is a freshwater fish usually only available to anglers. It needs to be soaked before cooking. Pike is best baked or boiled.

Pilchard

A small salt water fish. These fish are mostly bought tinned because they deteriorate very quickly after catching.

Salmon

(May-June)
Salmon is a salt water fish found in rivers where they swim upstream to spawn. Regarded for many years as a luxury fish it is now more readily available because of the proliferation of fish farms. Poaching or baking are best for a whole Salmon and also for fillets and steaks.

Smoked Salmon

- Smoked salmon is a delicious semi-transparent smoked meat sold in wafer thin slices. Always regarded as a luxury item smoked Salmon is usually used as a starter or in upmarket sandwiches.

Sardine

A tiny Pilchard which is also usually tinned. Fresh Sardines from France or Portugal are very good grilled or baked whole.

Smelt

(January-March)
A salt water fish caught in rivers where it spawns. Not often seen on the fish stall. Ideal for frying.

Sprat

(November-March)
Very much like Smelt. Prepare in the same way.

Brisling

Young Sprats usually either tinned or smoked.

Whitebait

(February-July)
The young of either the herring or Sprat. Silvery in colour Whitebait are dredged in seasoned flour and deep fried whole. A delicious starter.

Plaice

(January-April)
A flat fish with delicate white flesh. Sold whole or as fillets. Good for grilling, baking, poaching or frying.

Rockfish

(September-February)
A very tasty firm fleshed fish with easy to remove large bones. A favourite at the fish and chip shop.

Skate

(Best October-April)
A flat fish with flexible bones which fan out in "wings". The flesh is white and succulent. Poach, Grill, bake or fry.

Sole

(Best May-February)
A flat fish with very firm delicately flavoured flesh. Sold whole or in fillets Sole is good for grilling, poaching and frying.

Lemon Sole

(Best December-March
Very similar to Sole but the flesh is not quite as tasty.

Rainbow Trout

(All year round)
The type of fish reared on fish farms. Best grilled or oven baked.

River Trout

(March-September)
Tastier than the Rainbow Trout. the River, or Brown Trout is caught in rivers.

Sea Trout

(March-July)
Sea Trout is actually a freshwater fish somewhat similar to Salmon. It is always sold whole and can be cooked like Salmon.

Smoked Trout

- Smoked Trout is brown in colour and is prepared in a similar way to Smoked Salmon.

Turbot

(Best April-July)
A fish which tastes very much like Halibut except that the flesh is more moist. Sold whole or in steaks and fillets. Good for poaching, grilling and baking.

Whiting

(All year round)
A member of the cod family Whiting needs to be eaten quickly as the flesh deteriorates rapidly. It can be poached, baked or fried.

Witch

(Best August-April)
Witch is a flat fish very like sole but the white flesh does not have much flavour.

Shellfish


Clam

(September-November)
Originally found in the U.S.A., Clams are now cultivated in Britain. Clams are sold here in their shells and can be served raw like Oysters, smoked or tinned.

Cockles

(September-April)
Small mollusces sold cooked and shelled, often in vinegar. Associated with the traditional British Seaside.

Crab

(May-October)
A crustacean which is killed and cooked by boiling. Sold whole or "dressed" which means that all the flesh is scooped out and packed into the shell. Best at a weight of about 3 1/2 lb.

Crawfish

(April-September)
Crawfish looks like a rather spiny lobster. Sometimes Crawfish tails which contain most of the meat can be bought frozen.

Lobster

(April-August)
Lobster ranks with Salmon and Oysters in the luxury food stakes. Lobster is cooked like Crab. Best eaten at a weight of 1-2lbs . The female lobster has more tender flesh than the male and her eggs (spawn) are used to make Lobster Butter.

Mussels

(September-March)
Molluscs which are boiled alive like Crab, Lobster and Crawfish. Any which do not open when boiled must be discarded. Mussels are used in the classic French dish Moules Marinieres. They are sold alive or in vinegar or smoked.

Oysters

(September-April)
A luxury seafood as highly prized as Lobster and Salmon. Oysters are bought alive in their shells and eaten raw. In earlier times in England oysters were a cheap food which were added to meat pies and puddings. This was because they were readily available being harvested all around the coast and even in the River Thames. Today native oysters are still available in a few places, notably, Colchester.

Prawns

(Available all year round.)
Small crustaceans sold boiled. The head and shell are pulled off to release the flesh. Most famously used in Prawn Cocktails.

Dublin Bay Prawns

(May-November)
Dublin Bay Prawns are best known when fried in breadcrumbs and called Scampi although strictly speaking this name should only apply to The Naples Bay Prawn. It looks like a thin Lobster with large flat claws and is cooked like Lobster.

Pacific Prawns

- an imported prawn which is larger than the Dublin Bay Prawn. It is only available frozen.

Scallops

(September-March)
A white fleshed mollusc native to Britain with a very attractive pink coloured, fluted shell. These are good baked, grilled or poached. The pink roe is considered a delicacy.

Brown Shrimps


Shrimps look like small Prawns and have traditionally been caught all around Britain’s coast. They are boiled, shelled and eaten with brown bread and butter or sometimes potted in butter.

Pink Shrimps

- Pink Shrimps are very similar to Brown shrimps but are not as tasty.

Whelks

(September-February)
A mollusc sod cooked in the shell. When really fresh they can be delicious. Part of the British seaside tradition.

Winkles

(October-May)
A small mollusc also sold boiled in the shell. They have to be removed from the shell with a pin. Traditionally they were eaten for Sunday Tea.