As a nation surrounded by water I find it weird that we are not more enthusiastic about fish, when I say fish let’s just not think about the big 2, dipped in batter and cooked to within an inch of its life or an un-interesting fish pie on Good Friday.

TV has done its bit to increase interest, Rick Stein champions our seafood industry both at home and in more exotic locations with some great books and fantastic restaurants in Padstow, or Stein Ville as it is also know due to his ever growing portfolio of restaurants, pubs, a fish mongers and a fish & chip shop, If you haven’t been to Padstow its worth going.

As I said we are surrounded by water with over 300 species of fish to be found in British Coastal waters,  the top 5 species of fish eaten in the UK, yes 2 of which are dipped in batter and cooked to within an inch of its life make up 75% of all fish sales, so why don’t we eat more fish and different types of fish?

Many of us worry about trying new species of fish

“It may have bones in it”

“Is it fishy, does it smell?”, fresh fish doesn’t smell

“Will I like it”, you don’t know until you try.

So let’s start with a Friday and mix it up, why not ask the fish monger what other fish they have, how about grilled plaice, nut brown butter and lemon, or use lesser know fish like gurnard, grey mullet, dab, spider crab & cuttlefish and make a jambalaya , simple grilled mackerel over charcoal is another winner or Scotch rope grown mussel cooked in cider.

Let’s keep it wild and keep it exciting, 300 types of fish to go at, no need for farmed imports.

Here are a few of my favourites. 

Deep Fried Squid in Cracker Crumbs with Anchovy Mayonnaise

Ingredients (Mayonnaise)

  • 2 eggs 
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ pint olive oil
  • 1 oz chopped parsley


  1. In a food processor combine eggs, anchovies, lemon juice and parsley.
  2. Slowly blend in the oil to make the mayonnaise.

Prepare the squid into 1cm rings, approximately 6oz per person.

Ingredients (Batter)

  • 4oz Plain flour
  • 4 Cream crackers, broken into crumbs and passed through a sieve.
  • ¼ pint Milk
  • Salt


  1. Dip the squid into the milk.
  2. Mix the flour and cracker crumbs together and drop the squid into the mix.
  3. Fry at 350 deg F until golden brown.

Ugly Fish Jambalaya (10 Portions)

Ingredients (Gumbo)

  • 100g Vegetable Oil
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 2 Large Onions Chopped
  • 2 Celery Sticks Chopped
  • 2 Green Pepper Seeded & Chopped
  • 500g Okra, Thickly Sliced
  • 900g Plum Tomatoes Chopped
  • 2 Green Jalapeno Chillies Thinly Sliced
  • Sprig of Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 500G Skinned Diced Ugly Fish
  • 250g Rope Grown Sustainable Mussels
  • 200g Spider Crab
  • 5 Spring Onions Chopped
  • ½ Bunch Chopped Parsley
  • 750g Cooked Long Grain Rice
  • Salt & Pepper

Ingredients (Stock)

  • 1 kilo Chopped Fish Bones
  • 250g Sustainable Prawn Shells
  • 6 Chicken Wings
  • 2 Carrots Chopped
  • 2 Onions Chopped
  • 2 Sticks Celery Chopped
  • Sprigs of Parsley, Thyme, Oregano
  • 1 Fresh Bay leaf
  • 3.5 Litres of Water

Method (Stock)

  1. Place the stock ingredients in pan cover with the water & bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer & cook for 1 hour or until you have an aromatic, very well flavoured stock. 
  2. Strain through a colander into a clean pan.

Method (Gumbo)

  1. Heat the fat in a large pan, add the flour & cook over a gentle heat, stirring continuously until it has turned a golden brown.
  2. Add the bacon & continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the stock, stirring as you go.
  4. Now add onion, celery, green pepper, okra, tomatoes, jalapeno chillies, thyme & bay leaf. Leave to simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Add in the fish & mussels cook for 7-10 minutes.
  6. Finally stir in the spider crab, spring onion, parsley.
  7. Season with salt & pepper 
  8. To serve ladle over some cooked long grain rice.

Fish Pie

Ingredients (5 Portions)

  • 2.5kg mixed fish (ask you fish supplier for something different like gurnard, grey mullet of similar)
  • 250g mussels
  • 250ml white wine
  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 900ml fish stock – hot
  • 1 in number bay leaves
  • 200g sliced & cooked leeks  
  • 1g saffron
  • 1 small bunch dill chopped
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 750g mashed potato
  • 150g leagrams Lancashire cheese


  1. Place the wine in a pan & bring to the boil, reduce by half, add the fish stock & boil.
  2. Add the diced fish, mussels & poach in the fish stock until lightly cooked.
  3. Once the fish is cooked from the stock & set aside keeping the resulting liquor.
  4. In another pan melt the butter, add the flour & cook until a sandy texture is achieved, gradually add the poaching liquor, little by little until totally incorporated.
  5. add the saffron, add the cream & bring back to the boil, check & correct the seasoning. Add the cooked leeks & chopped dill. 
  6. Place the fish back in the cream sauce & mix together. Place good helpings of the mix in bowls, cover with mashed potato, sprinkle with grated leagrams cheese & glazed under the grill until golden brown & crispy.

Ginger, Chilli & Garlic Steamed Hake with Pak Choi (10 Portions)


  • 10 140-170gm hake fillets
  • 30 root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 10 garlic puree
  • 10 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5 limes, grated and zested
  • 400 Pak choi, each quartered lengthways


  1. Place the hake fillets side by side in a shallow gastronome and scatter the ginger, garlic, chilli and lime zest and juice over them. 
  2. Place the Pak choi on top of the fish. Pour the soy sauce over the Pak choi and loosely seal the gastronome with foil making sure you leave space at the top for the steam to circulate.
  3. Steam for 15 minutes until cooked then serve.


13 Limberline Road,
Hilsea Industrial Estate Hilsea, Portsmouth,
Hampshire PO3 5JF

© Dennis Edwards for Foodservice 2022