A spotlight on seasonality with Direct Seafoods
There’s great seasonal choice for chefs at the moment, including some prime flat fish species landed all around the UK such as brill, plaice, lemon sole, turbot and dover sole. When it comes to white fish, hake continues to grow in popularity on restaurant menus, and is good quality. We also continue to champion whiting and coley as cheaper and less utilised white fish options. MSC sardines from Cornwall, and Scottish or south coast mackerel, are also in good, consistent supply. With shellfish, mussels start to come back into season in the autumn, but after the warm summer, for the best quality, chefs should consider waiting until October, when the water cools down.
Farmed fish also has an important part to play, we encourage chefs to use quality products such as ChalkStream® trout, which offers a great alternative to fresh and smoked salmon.
Seasonality is crucial when it comes to planning fish and seafood dishes, not only because there are certain times of year when specific species are at their best, but also times when they should be avoided because of breeding cycles, migration patterns and other issues connected with good management and preservation of wild fish stocks.
Our key advice is keep menus flexible, which enables chefs to use the very best seasonal fish and seafood when it’s at its best in terms of availability, quality and value-for-money. This changes on a weekly and even daily basis according to the catch being landed at the fishing ports we work with around the UK.
Keeping things flexible, by using descriptions such as ‘catch of the day’ or ‘market fish of the day’ on menus and chalkboards, also helps with sustainability, by broadening the range being served, and reducing reliance on specific species. Our specialists can help with advice on recipes and preparation to ensure that chefs make the most of the full range of seasonal fish and seafood available.
For seasonality information by species please visit the Direct Seafoods website fish glossary; https://www.directseafoods.co.uk/fish-glossary/. Here you will also find catch information, how-to guides and recipe ideas.