RH Amar – French’s & Frank’s

Britannia Rules the Waves

Chris Tate talks to Brad Vickerman, Fish Manager at Charles Saunders about the secrets of great British seafood.

The sea has always yielded great rewards for Britain and our Olympic Sailing team aim to keep that tradition by netting gold off the Dorset coast this summer. Three times gold winning sailor Ben Ainslie began the Olympic Torch’s procession by holding it aloft at Land’s End and is tipped to lift gold again when the sailing starts at Weymouth and Portland on July 29.

So what better time to focus on the treasures that live beneath the waves, both at home and abroad?

Seafood is always high on customer minds when the sun shines and returned holidaymakers talk dreamily of grilled sardines on Portuguese docksides, moules and frites by the Med or calamari at beachside tavernas. And putting fish firmly on your menu has never been easier thanks to efficient delivery systems which can bring fresh or frozen to your door, anywhere in the country.

Pausing from his duties for suppliers Charles Saunders, fish manager Brad Vickerman, gave his top tips for value during the coming months.

“It has to be that British favourite – fresh cod. It’s just such good value at the moment compared to other white fish prices,” he said.“Because there’s been so much on TV about sustainability and using alternatives such as ling or whiting, the price of cod is now relatively low. Sometimes it can even be cheaper than pollock, which is amazing.“Sea bass and turbot are two other fish which are well priced at the moment.

“The power of what a chef has featured on TV affects demand dramatically – for example red gurnards were on the telly the other day and the market price went up instantly by £4 a kilo!” Interestingly, Brad said currently two of the most popular fish they sell are from much more exotic climes than British or Atlantic waters, due to the knowledge and enthusiasm of immigrant buyers.

“Big sellers for us are Tilapia, which is an African freshwater fish and Pangasius, a farmed catfish from Thailand,-both are really popular with that market.” While such far-flung fish are frozen, when it comes to shellfish Brad only deals in the freshest from our own shores.

“Shellfish are just so versatile – clams, razor and surf clams are great seafood and will go really nicely in risottos or spaghetti dishes.”

See our simple recipe for baby clam spaghetti which proves that fact and can be served either as a starter or main.

For further information on Charles Saunders, log on to www.charles-saunders.com

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