One tends to think of fish being from the sea but, of course, there are many delicious species that grace British and foreign rivers and lakes. Several are now farmed, increasing their sustainability.
The skin should be shiny and slippery or even slimy, the flesh firm and moist, not wet. On whole fish, the eyes should be prominent and bright.
Storage: Unless frozen, eat on day of purchase, or store well-wrapped in the bottom of the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Fresh fish can be frozen, gutted, whole or in fillets for upto 2 months.
Know Your Freshwater Fish…
Eat Cuts: Whole, fillets. Pan-fry, bake, grill, roast, barbecue, ‘blue poach’ in acidulated water (if just Caught)
Flavour Pairings : Bouquet Garni (parsley, thyme and bay leaf tied togther), watercress-flavoured hollandaise sauce, prawns.
In Season: Wild April-September, available farmed all year.
Eat/Cuts: Whole, fillets. Also available salted or dried. Pan-fry, deep-fry, steam, bake, barbecue or grill.
Flavour Pairings: Chilli, palm sugar, nam pla (Thai fish sauce), shrimp paste, coriander leaves, coconut, galangal.
In Season: Farmed all year
Eats/Cuts: Whole, fillets, steaks, the pearl (cheek) is a speciality. Pan-fry, grill, barbecue, poach, steam.
Flavour Pairings: Pak choi, lime, chilli, fresh herbs, white wine.
In Season: Wild April-August, available farmed all year.
Eats/Cuts: Whole, fillets. Also available smoked, dried or salted. Pan-fry, deep-fry, grill, bake, poach.
Flavour Pairings: Cornmeal, sesame seeds, soured cream, mushrooms, soring onions, parsley, bay leaf, thyme.
In Season: Farmed all year.
Eat/Cuts: Whole. Smoked, salted, and cured roe are also available. Soak in acidulated water to remove slime. Steam, roast, pan-fry, pane (cook in breadcrumbs), bake.
Flavour Pairings: Paprika, butter, carpers, dill, garlic, parsley, cornmeal, ginger, rice wine, sesame oil and seeds fennel.
In Season: July – April
Eat/Cuts: Whole, fillets, grill, bake
Flavour Pairings: Thyme, rosemary, fennel, nuts, celery, oils.
In Season: Wild July – March, available farmed all year.
Eat/Cuts: Whole, fillets. Also available smoked, salted, dried and the cured roe. Pan-fry, grill, steam, poach, roast.
Flavour Pairings: Unsalted butter, sage, lemon, cream, bay leaf, white wine.
In Season: July – April.
Eat/Cuts: Whole, fillets, steaks, female roe highly prized, salted as beluga, oscietra and sevruga caviar. Also available smoked. Some species endangered. Pan-fry, bake, steam and eat raw.
Flavour Pairings: Horseradish, soured cream, beetroot, vinegar, butter, citrus.
In Season: Siberian sturgeon farmed all year.
Eat/Cuts: Whole Fillets. Also available hot or cold smoked. Pan-fry, bake, grill, roast.
Flavour Pairings: White wine vinegar, butter, lemon chives, almonds, hazelnuts, jambon serrano, breadcrumbs.
In Season: Wild January – September, available farmed all year.
This Guide is from The MasterChef Kitchen Bible courtesy of DK Publishing.