Why did the fish get bad grades? Answer: Because he was below sea level…
You may grimace, but have you considered clipping the wings of the traditional Christmas game or fowl this year in favour of a seafood feast? Serving up a little fishy on your dishy will put you in the same school of thought as many other fish-favouring Brits this festive season.
And it could go down swimmingly.
Last year, including Christmas, over 97% of UK households bought seafood, with their total purchases estimated to be worth a whopping £6 billion.
Here are five top tips to serve up a sumptuous seafood feast:
1. Go for a ‘fish out of water' idea
Why not choose a fish a little unusual? It’s a special time of year after all. Select something scrummy from this seafood guide such as whitefish, flatfish or even a Cephalpod. They’re truly tasty, especially when washed down with a good bottle of white (or two!) to bring extra festive cheer.
2. Nicely-cooked not raw as rubber or burnt to a cinder!
There are a few similarities between cooking seafood compared with Christmas game or fowl. One method is to use a slow and even heat. As with breast meat, check the thicker end of the fish, just behind the gills. This will preempt any typically-British, overly polite 'it's different isn't it?' self-censored remarks from discerning relatives!
3. Take some seafood tips from 23 French master chefs this Christmas
Bonne idée: If you’re seeking a little French Renaissance this Christmas then be inspired by 23 Master Chefs of France (Maîtres Cuisiniers de France) who visited the Scottish Salmon Company farm at Loch Fyne and Loch Fyne Smokery in October. A tasty Scottish trout can provide a much-appreciated break to the usual forlorn prawns on the big day. Voila!
4. Don’t be a fish out of water
Remember that biggest isn’t always best at Christmas, especially when appetites are being overwhelmed. Why not try the light fantastic? Sole or flounder are fabulous, lightly flavoured and simple to grill, while ocean perch is beautiful whole when fried crisp. Bonito is mouth-watering too: on the first day it can even be used for sashimi, followed by a beautiful curry the next. Yum.
5. Stay cool, calm and collected – you and the fish!
The great aspect of knocking up a seafood surprise this Christmas is that you don’t have to be entombed in a steamy, condensation-cooked kitchen all morning. And with an ostrich-sized bird in the oven.
Go for cold fishy finger food like salmon, store it cool before you serve and, ho-ho-ho, you’re much more likely to look and feel cool yourself.
And if anyone is lost at sea about the lack of turkey?
Tell ‘em where to gobble!