The gurnard that are being landed at the moment are plump, firm and seriously tasty – and if you are not familiar with them, then now is a great time to try them. They are also being caught in large numbers and so the price is very reasonable (This week a generous gurnard fillet is £3.80)
This firm fish makes an excellent alternative to monkfish – which you can either eat pan fried, or in a fish stew or curry (it’s a classic ingredient in a Marseille bouillabaisse).
Gurnard is a firm, tasty fish that looks slightly pre-historic when whole, but which is easy to cook as fillets. With a bony head (used for shovelling under the sand for crabs and clams) and fan-like pectoral fins it has traditionally not been popular in the UK. However I think the texture is superb and the flavour subtle and delicious with just a hint of shellfish that comes from it’s diet. There are three types of gurnard in British waters: The small red , the larger tub and the grey which is being landed at the moment and is perfect portion size.
I pan-fried gurnard fillets last weekend and they were incredibly simple to cook and so good that I have to share it with you:
- 2 gurnard fillets
- 12 sage leaves
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 75g Unsalted Butter
- 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
- Juice of a small lemon
Heat the oil in a frying pan till it is medium hot, and add the seasoned fish, skin side down with a nob of butter. Fry for 4 minutes or so pressing down with a spatular to cook evenly. Flip the fillets over and finish for a minute or two before putting the gurnard onto warm plates. Add the rest of the butter, sage and garlic and cook gently for 30 seconds. Then add the lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Spoon over the gurnard fillets and serve immediately with a glass of white wine.