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Friday, 10 April 2009

No eels!? A shocking story for Easter

From the queues at the two fishmongers in Nottingham’s Victoria Market Thursday lunchtime I guess that Good Friday is a traditional day for the eating of fish. The people in the queues were 99% Jamaican and red snapper seemed to going especially well. One lady before me bought £25 worth of fishy products! I, on the other hand came away with some pilchards and three lovely mackerels. It wasn’t what I really craved though and my lack of success made me look into fresh fish and shellfish buying in the present day a bit closer.

Being a huge fan of Rick Stein and in particular his French Odyssey programme which I have on dvd and have watched endlessly and never seem to tire of, I wanted to buy some river caught eels (les anguilles) to cook simply sautéed with a persillade. They looked easy to cook and I felt that I would be being a bit adventurous. I must admit I am a bit of a late comer to the delights of shellfish and anything fishy other than cod, haddock or trout to eat. I had crab and cockles as a kid but certainly not of late. As for lobster, I don’t recall ever eating that. I have only recently just got into eating mussels and now I love them.

So, in going to the fishmongers, as described, I just assumed they would have eel amongst their selections on offer. They had conger eel but it wasn’t what I was after. I wanted the slimmer eels that inhabit rivers. I was gutted as I was so keen to be flouring up the eel and cooking them in a frying pan with butter, garlic and flat leafed parsley.

Just before writing this up I checked in the yellow pages for Nottingham, a fair sized city with its environs, and was shocked to see four (yes four!) fishmongers listed and that included the two in the shopping centre. I know the larger supermarkets have selections of the most popular fishes and mussels and scallops and such, but my God. Just four fishmongers. That’s so sad.

Next week I am going to try to get some eel from the Mordue Fishmongers in West Bridgford, failing that try the Farmers Markets. I’ll let you know how I got on.

Have a Happy Easter.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy your eels. They are not my favorite but they are very traditional here. I prefer lobster! I can't believe you've never tried it. Time to get some fruits de mer under your belt.

Phil Lowe said...

I will if I can get them Dedene. Fruits de Mer sounds cool sometime and I must give huitres a bash too.

Marian said...

No vest? even more shocking!!!!

Marian said...

"I was gutted" sorry I had to laugh at that!!! You should have steered clear of the fishmonger!!!

Phil Lowe said...

Marian, you don't wear a vest in Spring. Yes I think you are right about steering clear of the fishmonger as I am Pisces.

Marian said...

You might make somebody a lovely catch - now how corny is that?

Anonymous said...

I didn’t know fish eating was a Good Friday tradition, I thought it was buns! Oh well, it’s too late to buy fresh fish now but I do have some fish fingers in the freezer so I’ll have a fish finger sandwich for supper. I wonder if Rick Stein makes fish finger sandwiches.

Gail's Man said...

I've never eaten an eel. I'm not sure that I could. I get most of our fish from Hallams in Beeston. They always have a good selection and always do a good deal. Think my favourite is salmon. Although I love a good smoked mackerel as well, much to the disgust of Gail!

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

I am a fan of sea bass. Pan fried so just cooked on the flesh side then fry the skin side until it is crispy. Yummy yum yum!
Apart from that either tuna or salmon with blackening spices on it (sounds disgusting by name but delicious and very complimentary by taste).

I have Ricks 'Seafood' book as I don't really care for freshwater fish. Never tried eel but it used to be a regular delicacy in this country for many hundreds of years.

If you ever visit Warwick Castle and walk round to the water,ill there is still the old eel trap there. The fast flowing water attracted the eels so they swam, or were forced, in. Then it was just a case of picking them out as and when you wanted a fresh one.
For the less rich a basket was used and held in place in fast flowing water with sticks. The eels could get in the basket trap but not out again.

I laughed at the 'gutted' comment too. Great choice of words whether intentional or not.

Phil, I am loving the food blogs as well as the cafe stuff. Keep them coming.

A man walks into a fishmongers with a salmon under his arm. 'Do you make fishcakes?' he asks.
'Of course' replies the fishmonger.
'Oh thats good' says the man, 'because its his birthday'.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, I'm here all week. *waits for groans*

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

That should have read 'water mill'. Dohhh!
Dang dyslexic keyboard.