We’ve had some sad news this week at Fish Palace, as James our packing assistant has handed in his notice! He says he’s really enjoyed his time with us, but he’s currently studying with the Open University for a degree in Computer Science, and an extra module has popped up which will need lots of attention.
Although ‘packing assistant’ may not seem like everyone’s dream career (rather cold and pungent), James relished the chance to move away from customer service to a more serious, skilled and hands-on role, something he didn’t enjoy in his old job at an opticians. He now hopes to finish his degree and embark on a career in software or web development. Good luck James, you’ve been great!
Have you ever wondered where mother-of-pearl is found? It’s in the shell of the humble abalone, a large, edible sea snail. These shells have been used as decorative items in jewellery, buttons, buckles and inlay for thousands of years; they have been found in archaeological sites around the world from a 75,000 year old cave in South Africa to historic Chinese abalone middens in California’s Northern Channel Isles.
For those unperturbed by trinkets, they fortunately also make a delicious meal! The meaty ‘foot’ of the abalone has a similar texture to calamari – I sliced mine up and pan-fried it with garlic, chilli, lemon and salt. Sadly, abalone numbers are struggling around the world and need protecting, so fishermen are given a limited number of little blue tags to attach to their catch to ensure they don’t sell more than their quota. You can buy these shimmering little treats on our website, where we sell wild abalone from Brittany. Afterwards, you can turn the shell into an incense holder!
What an absolute corker of a turbot we’ve received this week! Weighing in at 23 lbs, it’s creeping towards the record we found in 1964’s Where to Fish by H. F. Wallis, when the Tolchard family caught one in Dartmouth at 28 lb!
Our gentle giant was caught in Cornwall and our head chef Marc is filleting him as we speak – best hurry as these steaks will disappear fast! Our wild turbot fillet steaks can be found here and are widely praised for their thick, boneless texture. You can find a delicious recipe for Roasted Turbot with Porcini and Red Wine here – a real feast!
We pride ourselves on the quality of our products at Fish Palace, but this week we’ve been processing some truly luxurious dishes… These peeled king crab claws (paralithodes camtschaticus) are seriously meaty and full of flavour, and used to be given to risky casino players just before a big roll, to thank them in advance for leaving behind so much cash! I remember the first time I ate crab from the shell; I was at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen in Axminster, and the waitress forgot to bring me a crab-cracker. I sat quietly for about 10 minutes, unsure how one was supposed to access the tempting pink within. Fortunately the waitress returned, fetched the cracker and explained!
Meanwhile, our head chef Marc has also been rustling up a fantastic batch of Oysters Rockefeller in our kitchen, which you can buy here and simply pop in the oven for 12 minutes. This remarkable dish was created in New Orleans and named after the richest man in America at the time, John D. Rockefeller, due to the richness of the sauce. To make it, Marc whizzes spinach, parsley, onion and tabasco sauce in the blender, and then adds a slosh of Pernod; the traditional recipe uses Herbsaint, but we find Pernod a delicious alternative!
These are both wonderful treats for a slightly extraordinary supper – why not give them a go?
Wit ought to be a glorious treat like caviar; never spread it about like marmalade.
Caviar has long been the delicacy of choice for exuberant occasions; who wouldn’t savour these salted pearls from the dark depths of the ocean? The name originates from the Turkish khavyar, but the sturdy sturgeon has been part of man’s diet for 250 million years. Once reserved strictly for royalty, it found a place in American saloons in the 19th century, where it was served to encourage beer sales with its salty flavour!
For those looking for something a little more original this Valentine’s Day, forget the oysters, chocolates and heart-shaped pizza. We’ve got seven luxurious varieties of exquisite caviar in stock at Fish Palace, including our fresh No.1 Baerii from Siberian sturgeon which is on offer for a sparkling £31.90 (usually £39.90). Most caviar companies give their products names like Imperial or Tsar’s Own. We don’t believe in dressing up something that is already magnificent, so ours are simply labelled with numbers, just like Chanel…
It’s not all mackerel fillets and crab claws at Fish Palace – we have a few intriguing products from across the North Sea that are rather unique…
Aside from IKEA and ABBA, Sweden is famous for a curious little condiment that has taken the world by storm: smörgåskaviar. It’s fish roe spread (usually sturgeon or salmon) squeezed into what appears to be a toothpaste tube, and is a hugely popular filling for sandwiches and crackers. While fish paste may sound like something from Miss Marple, smörgåskaviar is something different; its flavoured with salt, sugar, mustard and a range of herbs, and admirers claim it’s a great source of protein!
What a catch! This week at Fish Palace we took delivery of a gleaming shoal of red scorpionfish, also known as rascasse (scorpaena scrofa). It’s been five years since they were last sold on our website, as they are incredibly difficult to get hold of in the UK. For those who claim expertise of French cuisine, you’ll know that rascasse is one of the main ingredients in bouillabaisse, the traditional Provençal fish stew originating in the port city of Marseille..
Legend has it that a similar dish to bouillabaisse was created by the Phoceans, the Ancient Greeks who founded Marseille in 600BC. The dish known today as bouillabaisse was created by local fishermen, wanting to use up the less expensive, bony rockfish from their nets. It was cooked in a cauldron of bubbling sea water over a wood fire, and seasoned with garlic and fennel.
Thankfully, modern bouillabaisse is made with a little more flavour! As Marseille became more prosperous in the 19th century, the ingredients grew to include fish stock and saffron. We love Michel Roux’s recipe, which includes conger eel and John Dory.
Fancy brewing a cauldron of bouillabaisse yourself?
We have a range of rascasse cuts on offer here!