Seasonal Seafood of the Month - Whiting

This month's ‘seasonal fish special is abundant off the Cornish coast throughout January and well into March.

Not so many years ago the whiting was the fish of choice for many Cornish fishermen and their families and was known colloquially as ‘chicken of the sea'. Today, most people will have heard of whiting but very few will have eaten it despite it being a fraction of the price of cod.

The whiting is in the same Gadoid family as cod and clearly shows traits of its close relatives like the sharp spiny teeth of hake or the speckled colour along the lateral line of the cod. The flesh of the whiting is white and flaky but is more delicate than cod, haddock or ling. Whiting also bruise more easily so great care is taken by fishermen to ensure that fish are carefully gutted, washed and stored in ice within 1 hour of capture to guarantee complete freshness and quality.

Inshore ‘day-boat' trawlers from ports like Mevagissey, Looe and Polperro specialise in catching and landing top-quality Whiting at this time of year, although Whiting will be available almost all round the Cornish Coast at this time of year. Furthermore, ICES (the scientists who assess the state of European fish stocks) say the stock is being fished sustainably and as a result whiting (from the English Channel) appears on the Marine Conservation Society's ‘fish to eat' list.

Like the Pollack featured last month, whiting is an extremely versatile fish than can be used as a cheaper, high-quality recipe substitute for cod and haddock (or any other round fish). It can be steamed, baked, fried, poached or grilled.

Other fresh fish and shellfish in season

This month you can also enjoy:

Bass Dover sole Lemon sole Mussels
Megrim Pollock Oysters  
Cod Coley Scallops  
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