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Seafood adventures: sardines, scallops, mackerel, herring, catfish

Since reading about why we should focus less on tuna+salmon+cod and eat more from the bottom of the seafood chain, I've been trying out lots of seafood that I haven't really had before. Here's some good and bad ones:

  • Scallops: I had these marinated with chorizo and parsley (they were sold ready-marinaded, at the fish counter). It's very easy, you just fry them in the pan for 6 or 7 minutes. It was blooming delicious - the scallops had a very gentle smooth flavour, and they go really well with the more aggressive chorizo taste.
  • Sardines: These are easy too! Just grill them for 2 or 3 minutes either side. Nice meat to them - kind of reminds me of the dark kind of meat you get on a chicken thigh, although obviously the flavour is different. The bones could potentially be annoying since they were too big to ignore and slightly too small to get them all out easily.
  • Rollmop herring: I've had this when I went to Denmark a couple of years ago and it was really tasty. Unfortunately the version in my supermarket is really over-sweet and I just hated that flavour. Would be nice to try and find some nice-tasting version though.
  • Mackerel fillets: Nice big fillets, they were sold already marinated with vinegar, garlic, pepper. They have quite a strong flavour, and the marinade itself was very strongly-flavoured, which made a good combination. Though I think Philippa found them a bit too strong.
  • Basa (a type of catfish): In the shop this looked like standard white fish. I baked it in foil, and to be honest it was a bit odd - a very dry sort of texture and a slightly odd flavour. So I'm not sure I'd go for that again.
  • Smoked mackerel in a packet: Made a lovely kedgeree on Thursday.
  • Tilapia: frozen fillets with a paprika+chilli butter. This was really nice - a fairly normal sort of white fish with good firm flesh, sort of between plaice and cod in texture. And the sweet spiced butter (melted over it in the oven) makes a really good combination.

So what are the winners out of that lot? I liked the scallops, mackerel, tilapia and sardines, although the scallops were more expensive: £2.70 was a reduced price for a single portion with the chorizo etc, which is loads more than the other things, none of them cost even that much for two portions. The tilapia was a really nice white fish and the Marine Conservation Society says tilapia is good eating so I'll definitely try and buy that again when I can.

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