Healthy, warming seafood recipes to beat the winter blues (and flu)

Seafood isn’t just for summer, says Mitch Tonks. Here’s two warming recipes that show why

Monday 19 February 2024 06:00 GMT
No time for pie? Try this gratin instead
No time for pie? Try this gratin instead (Rockfish)

Fish isn’t just for summer, and winter isn’t just for roast dinners and hearty stews. Seafood suppers can not only be delicious and comforting, but are packed full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2. Ideal for keeping the winter blues (and flu) away.

And who better to turn to for winter seafood recipe inspiration than Mitch Tonks, founder of Brixham-based Rockfish, a sustainable seafood supplier than champions the best the British waters have to offer?

Tonks’ seafood chowder is delicious, comforting, perfect for the winter months and nutritious – and jam-packed with seafood. It is easy to cook and perfect for the family or even a larger feast.

Alternatively, Tonks’ fantastic fish gratin is a hearty fish dish and a quick and delicious alternative to a traditional fish pie recipe, perfect for enjoying with family or friends at home this winter.

Seafood chowder

Add some haddock for some essential extra punch (Rockfish)

“A well-made seafood chowder is delicious, comforting and very easy. I like mine packed with seafood rather than making a thin creamy soup. I think some haddock is essential to give it that extra punch.”

Serves: 4


1kg live mussels

500g live clams

200ml white wine

Sprig of thyme

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

50g butter

4 carrots, finely chopped

1 large leek, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

100g diced smoked pancetta (optional)

2 fresh bay leaves (give them a little tear)

400ml double cream

300g finely diced potatoes

200g skinless fish fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces (cod, pollack and monkfish all work well)

150g skinless smoked haddock fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces

12 peeled raw king prawns or a handful of small peeled prawns

Handful chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Wash the mussels in cold water. Scrape off any barnacles attached to the shells and pull off the brown wispy beards, if there. Discard any mussels with broken shells. If any mussels are open, tap them sharply. If they don’t close, discard them – they are dead and not edible. Rinse the mussels again, then drain in a colander.

2. Check that all the clam shells are undamaged and tightly shut (or close when tapped). Rinse under cold running water to remove any grit or sand.

3. Put the mussels and clams in a pan large enough to hold them comfortably without crowding – it’s better if they are spread out rather than being piled on top of each other. Add the white wine, thyme and one of the garlic cloves. Crank up the heat, cover and steam until the shells open. Leave to cool, then remove the clams and mussels from their shells, discarding any that haven’t opened. Strain the juices and reserve.

4. Melt the butter in the same pan and add the carrots, leek, celery, remaining garlic, pancetta, if using, and bay leaves. Cook gently until the vegetables are softened. Add the reserved shellfish juice and the cream and bring to a simmer. Add the diced potatoes and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until they start to break down.

5. Add the raw fish and prawns and cook for 5-6 minutes, then add the mussels and clams to warm through for a few minutes. Finish with plenty of chopped parsley and season to taste.

Fish gratin

A quick and delicious alternative to fish pie (Ed Ovenden)

“This hearty fish dish is a quick and delicious alternative to a traditional fish pie recipe, and perfect for enjoying with family or friends in the comfort of your home this autumn.”


1 x Rockfish (or shop-bought) fish pie mix (monkfish, smocked pollack, whiting and ling)

100g shell on prawns (some peeled, some unpeeled)

2 leeks

2 spring onions

25g butter, plus additional for grating

150ml double cream

300ml milk

1 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp English mustard

A few black and pink peppercorns

Handful grated parmesan

Handful of breadcrumbs

Handful of chopped parsley


1. Pour the milk into a saucepan. Add a bay leaf, a few black and pink peppercorns, English mustard and fish pie mix. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer.

2. Chop the leeks finely and add to a dry frying pan – keep stirring to avoid catching on the pan.

3. Once the leeks have softened, add the butter and mix until it has fully melted. Add the flour and mix.

4. Keeping the fish in the saucepan, slowly add the milk to the leeks, whilst stirring, to form a sauce.

5. Add the double cream, chopped spring onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Keep stirring as you add the fish and then the prawns.

6. Transfer the mix into an oven safe dish, then top with the grated butter, parmesan and breadcrumbs. Pop under the grill on a high setting until crispy and golden on top.

7. Remove from the oven, top with some chopped parsley and serve alongside a crisp salad and some new potatoes.

Known to serve the very best local and sustainably sourced seafood, Rockfish champions the best the British waters have to offer. Rockfishhas made superb quality seafood – as well as Mitch Tonks expert recipes – available at home too, with his online seafood market

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