Sustainable seafood for all seasons
Matt Gummery, Fisheries Certification Manager and self-declared foodie, shares his favourite sustainable seafood recipes with us.
There are few things better than a hearty plate of home-cooked food. Although I’m not too keen on the overused term “foodie”, I probably fall into the category – my favourite conversations are usually about food, and both my family, friends and colleagues have been known to indulge me in a good chat on the subject.
I’ve worked at the Marine Stewardship Council in fisheries certification for 3 years now, and although it’s a really rewarding job, it doesn’t get me in front of much actual seafood. As such, when the MSC asked me to come up with some recipes for less popular and more unusual types of fish or shellfish, and said they’d provide the ingredients, I jumped at the chance. Plus, I’ve always been a bit jealous of my Sydney-colleague Adrian, and his star YouTube chef moment.
As a Londoner, I decided to limit myself to things that don’t appear on SeaFish’s Top 10 UK seafoods list – so no cod, salmon, tuna, or prawns. Even without the seafood staples, it’s possible to have some delicious meals that won’t break the bank and, with the MSC ecolabel on many different products in a wide range of stores, it’s easy to be sure that you are making the best environmental choice in seafood.
There you have it – take a look at some of the recipes below, let me know if you have a go, and try and find some unusual MSC certified seafood in your supermarket this week!
Scallops and chorizo on cauliflower mash
In my book, there is nothing better than a fresh pan-fried, juicy scallop, and there is no reason why they have to be something you only ever have when eating out. This recipe makes for a great treat meal, and the good news is that there are a number of environmentally sustainable MSC-certified scallop fisheries around the world. The pairing of scallops and chorizo is a pretty classic one, but if you haven’t made cauliflower mash yet, please give it a go! You do need a blender, but it’s really easy, has a great smooth consistency, and is a delicious healthy alternative to regular mashed potato.
8-10 MSC certified scallops (depending on size)
100g good quality chorizo
2 peeled garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
1. Coarsely chop the chorizo and add to a frying pan on the hob. You won’t need to add any oil.
2. Cook the chorizo on each side for a few minutes until it is just turning crisp, then allow to cool on some kitchen towel. Don’t clean the pan yet!
3. Break off any leaves from the cauliflower, cut as much of the stalk away as you can and place the head in a saucepan.
4. Fill the saucepan with an inch of boiling water, add in the 2 garlic cloves, and place a lid on the pan.
5. Heat the saucepan for 8-10 minutes to steam the cauliflower until it is soft.
6. Add the cauliflower, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
7. Quickly steep the spinach in boiling water, or steam in the microwave for 30 seconds.
8. Reheat your frying pan on the hob and add the scallops, cooking each side for 30 seconds. If the chorizo is cold, you can warm it up in the pan as the scallops cook.
9. Serve up your spinach and cauliflower mash, place the chorizo and scallops on top and squeeze over some lemon juice.
Anchovy, broccoli and chilli linguine
Anchovies are one of my favourite fish to cook with as they are so versatile.
This recipe was a happy accident, created by my girlfriend from the things we had in the fridge and store cupboard on a rainy evening when neither of us felt like a walk to the shop. I always have a couple of cans of anchovies in the kitchen as they’re cheap and MSC-certified varieties are so readily available. Here, the anchovies melt into the sauce so you don’t recognise them in there until you taste their rich saltiness, off-set by a squeeze of lemon and a hit of chilli. I’ve made it a few times since and it’s been different each time depending on what’s in the cupboard, so feel free to experiment with it so it can become one of your lazy store cupboard dinners, too!
Linguine for 2 (adjust quantities as per appetite, packets advise 125g per person)
1 broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
1 small can of MSC certified anchovies, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 echalion shallot, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1-2tsp dried chilli flakes – increase or decrease according to chilli tolerance!
Freshly grated Parmesan to serve
1. Cook the linguine as per packet instructions in a pot of salted boiling water
2. Heat a good slug of olive oil in a large sautée or deep frying pan on a medium heat and add the chopped shallot. Stir for about a minute until starting to turn golden and then add the garlic.
3. Add the broccoli to the pan and gently stir fry. Encourage the broccoli to break up into even smaller pieces with your spoon, so it becomes the consistency of a thick pesto.
4. After 2-3 minutes, add the anchovies, chilli and lemon juice and continue to stir. Once everything has amalgamated and the broccoli is cooked through, take off the heat.
5. When the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining. Tip the linguine into the broccoli pan with half of the pasta water and stir. If it seems a little dry and the broccoli ‘sauce’ isn’t adhering to the pasta, add a little more pasta water.
6. Add freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan to serve, if desired.
Hake fish tacos
This fish taco recipe was inspired by some Australian fish tacos I had once, and the hake holds together and takes the heat of the cumin and paprika well. As for the guacamole, my recipe is something I’m pretty proud of and tends to go down reasonably well when I make it – my trick is to leave the chopped onion stewing in lime juice for a few minutes to soften up, and salt the diced tomato and let it sit to bring out the flavour. This recipe has a lot of component parts, but much of it can be made in advance and then taken out of the fridge when you’re ready to eat.
For the fish
1kg MSC certified hake fillets, skin removed
Salt and pepper
3 or 4 ripe avocados
Small chilli (preferably Jalapeño)
Bunch of coriander
1 large tomato
1 red onion
Pinch of salt
Small corn tortillas, 2 or 3 per person
Any salad leaves you like
Black beans (cook per can instructions and season well with salt, pepper and chilli flakes)
1. For the guacamole, dice the red onion and tomato and put into separate bowls.
2. Squeeze the lime juice over the onion, sprinkle salt over the tomatoes, and leave both dishes to stand for 15 minutes.
3. Cut the hake fillets into small strips and sprinkle over olive oil, salt, spices and crushed garlic. Spread the oil to make sure it covers all of the fish. Leave to sit in the fridge while you make the rest of the guacamole.
4. Combine the red onion and tomatoes with finely chopped chilli and coriander in a large bowl.
5. Peel and stone your avocados and add them into the bowl, at this stage add a good large pinch of salt.
6. Mix the ingredients together and mash the avocado flesh, leaving some large chunks.
7. Finish off the guacamole with some coriander leaves.
8. When you’re ready to eat, heat some oil in a frying pan and cook the hake for 7-8 minutes ensuring it is cooked through.
9. Assemble your sides on the table, warm your tortillas, and enjoy!
For some tips to make these dishes extra special and more recipes head to the recipe section on the MSC’s website. Bon appetit!