Let’s not beat about the bush – 2022 is shaping up to be a memorable year for all the wrong reasons.
Quite apart from the war in Ukraine, Covid-19 and the ongoing ups and downs in Westminster, British consumers cannot avoid dire warnings about the rising cost of living.
Inflation is at the highest rate in decades. Fuel prices remain stubbornly high. Household energy bills have ballooned, prompting widespread concern about the choice faced by low-income families – whether to heat or eat.
Whatever your perspective, unless you’re comfortably well-off it’s likely you’ll be looking at ways to minimise the damage to your personal finances without forsaking the good things in life, including a diet rich in fish and seafood – a diet proven to not only help protect your heart, lungs, skin and mental health but also strengthen your bones and joints.
While we would never discourage you from stocking your freezer with our exceptional produce, we do appreciate that the prices of certain species can push them beyond the realm of everyday consumption.
How else, then, can you maintain a healthy intake of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals without spending a penny more than is necessary?
Here are five suggestions for keeping plenty of fish in your diet without smashing the piggy bank.
1. SMOKED MACKEREL FILLETS
While a little strong for some, the flavour of smoked mackerel is manna from heaven to a lot of folk. Mackerel are an athletic species, constantly on the move in vast shoals hunting prawns and smaller fish. As a result the flesh is packed with energy, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making mackerel a hit with sporty types or anyone looking to give their immune system a boost.
The mackerel fishing season is limited to two short periods to preserve stocks, so getting your hands on fresh specimens is harder than it is with other species. That’s why smoked mackerel fillets are a great substitute, bringing you all the nutritional benefits of fresh mackerel without the limited availability.
Smoked mackerel fillets come into their own at lunchtime or as a starter. Flake them into a leafy salad with croutons, blitz them with crème fraîche, parsley and lemon juice for a moreish pâté or simply warm them and savour with buttered toast and a drizzle of lemon juice.
If you like a little extra heat and texture we also offer these with a sprinkling of peppercorns.
2. COD STEAKS
Cod is a big old fish but its flesh is surprisingly tender, which perhaps explains its status as the No1 choice in the UK’s fish and chip shops. Steaks, which come with a portion of backbone, represent the most affordable route into enjoying cod, and are well suited to pan or oven roasting, shallow frying, poaching or steaming. Pretty much any method other than grilling, which is too brutal for the tender flesh.
Cod is terrific in mousses, fish cakes, croquettes, gratins, stews and, of course, fish pie. It’s also a good option for those looking to keep an eye on their waistline – at 0.6g fat per 100g raw cod, it’s one of the leanest choices available.
BUY NOW Cod Steaks (£12.26 per 500g)
3. SALMON STEAKS
Like the cod equivalent, salmon steaks come with a section of backbone and are the low-cost alternative to fillets – around £10 a kilo cheaper – without sacrificing any of the versatility.
The steaks can be sautéed and plated up with roasted potatoes and fennel, or poach them before chilling, flaking the flesh off and serving it with mayonnaise and oatcakes or rice cakes for a light lunch. Better still, bake them in the oven and either serve immediately with fragrant rice or let them cool and redeploy the flesh in burgers or fish cakes.
Luxury dining at a fraction of the cost – who can argue with that?
BUY NOW Salmon Steaks (£9.92 per 500g)
4. HADDOCK FILLETS
A big favourite with Fresh Fish Daily customers. Harder to source south of the border than its big cousin cod, haddock is the preferred choice of fish and chip shops in the north of England and Scotland.
Its dominance is easy to explain – the flesh is sweeter and less flaky than cod, high in protein and beneficial minerals, plus the fillets are more than £4 cheaper per kilo. As with salmon steaks and cod fillets, haddock fillets are a great choice for fish cakes, gratins, croquettes and fish pie. Speaking of which …
BUY NOW Haddock Fillets (£12.75 per 500g)
5. FISH PIE MIX
Fish pie is a joy to make and freezing individual portions is a terrific plan for you or any family members who relish the flavour and texture of fish pie but aren’t in a position to make a whole pie, whether for reasons of time, mobility or facilities. If you’ve got elderly neighbours, it’s a great idea to prepare individual portions which they can either eat within a couple of days or pop in the freezer and defrost at an appropriate time.
Our fish pie mix is a luxurious assortment of offcuts of salmon, peat-smoked haddock and yellowfin tuna with a smattering of cod. We think it’s a great starting point for any pie. Depending on what you’ve got to hand and what you like, you can add prawns, chopped hard-boiled eggs, capers, mustard, scallops, a dash of vermouth, chives, parsley, strong cheddar, parmesan or camembert …
Combine your choice of ingredients with a simple bechamel sauce, top it all off with a layer of mashed potato then bake in the oven and voilà, you have one of the wonders of the culinary world!
BUY NOW Fish Pie Mix (£9.70 per 500g)