Making waves: Mark Hix's sensational ways to cook sustainable fish

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Channel 4's The Big Fish Fight has provided some very interesting viewing recently, although I'm not completely sure that it has convinced the public about exactly what they should and shouldn't be eating.

Fishmongers, supermarkets and restaurants are really going to have to address the question of what type of fish they are selling – and I imagine that some of them are going to be caught out with the wrong fish. Fish2fork (fish2fork.com) is a great campaigning guide for those who want to eat fish sustainably, pointing customers towards restaurants who care about the issue, and steering them away from those who don't give a flying fish about the ocean! At Selfridges, we are going to be working with the Blue Marine Foundation (bluemarinefoundation.com), the charity set up by the producers of the pioneering film The End of the Line. We will also be serving the Oyster and Fish House menu at Selfridges to give the whole campaign a bit of clout.

The potential problem with all of this is that we don't want it to backfire – I remember that nearly a decade ago we were all told to eat hoki instead of cod, and sadly by 2006 it was clear that hoki had been overfished and had become an endangered species!

Whiting ceviche

Serves 4

You rarely see whiting on menus as it's deemed to be a bit third-division and only fit for the cat bowl. Rather like mackerel, it hasn't got a great shelf-life once it's out of the water, compared to, say, a bass or a sole. However, it is perfect for fish and chips or goujons or chopped up fresh and raw like this in the form of a ceviche.

250-300g very fresh whiting fillet, skinned, boned and cut into approximate cm dice
Juice of 3 limes
1tbsp of soda or mineral water
1tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 plantains
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying

For the garnish

Half a red pepper, seeded and finely diced
Half a red onion, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 large medium spiced green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Preheat about 8cm of the corn or vegetable oil to 160-180C in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Meanwhile, slice the plantain lengthways (with the skin on) with a mandolin about a fifth of a centimetre thick. Deep-fry for about 3-4 minutes or until crisp, turning the plantains with a slotted spoon during cooking, then transfer on to kitchen paper; scatter with a little salt. Mix the lime juice with the soda water and olive oil and mix with the fish; season to taste. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Either mix the garnish ingredients together or serve in separate little dishes. Arrange the fish with the juice in individual bowls, or a large one to share, with the plantain in a basket; serve with the garnish.

Sardines with potato and cumin salad

Serves 4

Pilchard and sardine fishing is a part of Cornish heritage and the two names can be easily confused – in the UK, sardines are officially classified as small pilchards and sardines used to be called pilchards once they were canned. But Cornish sardines now enjoy protected food status and the word "sardine" (evoking Mediterranean holidays) is more appealing to the public than "pilchard" (which calls to mind the canned variety). Whatever you want to call it, the fresh sardine or pilchard can be cooked either whole or as fillets and served in the same way that you would a mackerel or herring.

8-12 sardines or pilchards, filleted
A little flour for dusting
A little vegetable or corn oil for frying

For the potato salad

3 medium shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
One-third of a tsp ground cumin
1tsp cumin seeds
100ml chicken or vegetable stock
30ml cider or white wine vinegar
400g large new potatoes, peeled cooked and cut into cm slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp parsley, finely chopped
30-40ml olive or rapeseed oil

First prepare the potatoes: in a pan, simmer the shallots, ground cumin and seeds, two-thirds of the vegetable stock and the white wine vinegar until almost completely reduced.

Add the sliced potatoes and the rest of the stock, stir well, cover and cook gently over a low heat for another 4-5 minutes, giving an occasional stir. The liquid should have almost disappeared and the potatoes should be falling apart a little. Stir in the olive oil and parsley and replace the lid to keep warm.

Heat a little vegetable oil in preferably a non-stick frying pan, season the sardine fillets and very lightly flour the skin. Fry the fillets for a couple 0f minutes on the skin side on a medium heat until crisp, then flip them over and finish cooking for 30 seconds or so; then remove from the pan and drain on some kitchen paper. To serve, spoon the potato salad on to warmed serving plates and arrange the fillets on top.

Megrim sole with brown shrimps and capers

Serves 4

I've been serving megrim sole for years and the big question is whether it's going to become the new lemon sole. In France, you will find it on the fishmongers' slabs as cardine and in Spain it's known as gallo; over there it's as popular a fish as our Dover and lemon soles. Megrim is certainly in abundance in the West Country (along with Torbay and witch soles) but on restaurant menus I think it will take a little time for it to gain popularity with diners. It can be treated in exactly the same way as other soles and it will almost certainly cost a fraction of the price.

4 megrim soles weighing about 250-300g with the fins and black skin removed
Plain flour for dusting
A couple of tablespoons of vegetable or corn oil
100g unsalted butter
80g peeled brown shrimps
2tbsp capers, washed
Juice of half a lemon
2tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Season the soles and lightly flour the white skin side. Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy or non-stick frying pan and cook the soles with the skin side down – first for 3-4 minutes on each side on a medium heat, adding a knob of butter for the last couple of minutes of cooking, until they are golden. You may need to cook the soles in a couple of batches, depending on your frying pans.

Once the soles are cooked, heat the rest of the butter in a small frying pan until it begins to foam and stir in the shrimps, capers, parsley and lemon juice and remove from the heat.

To serve, lay the soles on warmed serving plates and spoon the shrimps and butter over.

Crispy coley, bacon and horseradish salad

Serves 4

I've served coley at formal dinners for 100 people: it turned into a real talking point.

A piece of streaky bacon, or pancetta weighing 200-250g with the rind removed
200-250g coley fillet, skinned and boned
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying
2-3tbsp Dove's Farm gluten-free self-raising flour
A handful of small salad and herb leaves such as watercress, rocket, chives, chervil, flat parsley etc
1tbsp freshly grated horseradish

For the dressing

1tbsp cider vinegar
2tsp Tewkesbury or Dijon mustard
2tbsp rapeseed oil
2tbsp corn oil

Put the bacon into a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender, then leave to cool. Once cool, cut into 2cm cubes. Whisk the ingredients together for the dressing and season.

Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes, turning the pieces as they are cooking, until crisp; drain on kitchen paper; keep warm. Cut the coley into similar-sized chunks to the bacon. In a bowl, mix the flour with enough cold water to make a batter and season well. Mix the pieces of fish with the batter and deep-fry in a couple of batches until crisp, then drain on some kitchen paper. Arrange the leaves, bacon and coley and top with the grated horseradish on serving plates; spoon over the dressing.

See the Marine Conservation Society ( mcsuk.org), the Marine Stewardship Council ( msc.org), Fish2Fork ( fish2fork.com)

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing