When it comes to fish dishes, why mess around trying to prepare the strange concoctions of celebrity chefs, when the original recipes are best?
The real experts are the ones who use their fishing reels to catch the ingredients. So let’s take a look at some traditional fisherman’s fare – reel fish dishes!
This creamy fish dish originates in New England. A simple soup of potatoes, onion, a little bacon, butter and clams – it is the taste of the sea.
Fishermen would have used any fish and shellfish to make the dish but over time, chowder has evolved to become the eponymous clam dish.
There are several versions – including a New York derivative that includes tomatoes in the recipe. This so enraged devotes of the original chowder that in 1939, the legislature in Maine made the addition of tomatoes to clam chowder – illegal.
For your ‘legal’ New England Clam Chowder recipe click here.
Legend has it that Venus the Roman Goddess of love, fed her husband Vulcan the God of fire, bouillabaisse to ensure that he nodded off. Once he was sound asleep, off she went cavorting with none other than that dashing God of war, Mars.
More down to earth sources point to Marseille as the city of origin for this delicious fisherman’s stew.
The fish are only a bit part player in the drama of flavours that make up a sumptuous bouillabaisse. A unique blend of ingredients including saffron, fennel seeds and gruyère, have led the dish to be described as a ‘magical synthesis’.
Fancy feeding your god of fire with some fisherman’s stew? You’ll find a fantastic Bouillabaise recipe here.
A fusion of African, European and North American cookery, a decent cajun gumbo includes meat, fish and shrimps cooked in a thick, strongly flavoured stock. Add celery, bell peppers and onions and you’re in for a treat.
The sauce is thickened by a variety of means – okra, a flour and fat ‘roux’, or filé – dried, powdered sassafras leaves which also add a spicy zing. This delight of the deep South developed during the 18th century and is the official dish of Louisiana.
Cook up a Cajun storm with this seafood gumbo recipe.
Stargazy pie is a famous Cornish dish consisting of Pilchards baked with eggs and potatoes under a pastry top. Stargazy get’s it’s name from the fish heads that poke through the pie crust.
This delight of South West England is traditionally eaten in the tiny fishing village of Mousehole, as part of Tom Bawcock’s eve celebrations on 23rd December. Tom is reputed to have saved the inhabitants from famine by bringing home a bumper catch from the stormy winter seas, just in the nick of time.
For a taste of the South West, get stuck in to this wholesome Stargazy Pie recipe.
Fish and chips
The ubiquitous British fish dish came about as a result of the industrial revolution.
The advent of beam trawling in the North sea, greatly increased the size of the catch. At the same time, the spread across the country of the railways, enabled the swift transportation of fish to market in the big cities.
The first fish and chip shop was opened by John Malin in London in 1860, and the fast food industry was born. Incidentally, fish and chips were one of the only foodstuffs not rationed during the second world war.