Catch of the Month
Billingsgate Seafood School
The market has been exceptionally quiet for the last few weeks, but in the run up to Christmas we are seeing increased activity as the buyers supply London's restaurants and hotels.
It is a very good time to visit if you want to fill up your freezer or buy some of the treats on offer. The market is open Tuesday to Saturday - the last trading day before Christmas is 22nd December. The market will open again on the 28th and 29th before shutting up for the New Year. Trade between Christmas and New Year will be slow - so don't come expecting to see a huge market trade.
At our Seafood Pop Up Restaurant we have been taking orders for anyone who wants sides of smoked salmon, gravadlax, tubes of marinated seafood salads, anchovies and even caviars - there is plenty to choose from. If you can't get here at the early hours of the market we are very happy to buy product for you and you can arrange to collect it from us during our opening hours - 8am - 4pm Monday - Saturday...
The use by dates now extend into 2013, so it doesn't have to be a last minute dash.
Smoked fish can be found at a number of businesses here. John Stockwell (in one corner of the market) is an emporium of wonderfully tempting smoked and cooked seafood, amongst other things. Tubs of marinated anchovies (that would feed an army) start at around £7.50. We have been using these on our Seafood Sharing Platter at the restaurant and with Citrus, Chilli and Plain on offer there is a good choice.
They also have hot and cold smoked sides of salmon along with gravadlax.
Bards Shellfish also sells some good tubs of different roes, including keta - bright orange salmon roe - this makes a great topping with mascarpone and blinis. Bards also sell fabulous Icelandic smoked cods roe - this IS the best for Taramasalata and we buy it regularly along with their rock oysters.
Other excellent smoked fish can be found at J. Bennetts Jnr, Bobby's Fish, Wren and Hines and J. Bennetts. I have earmarked some St James Reserve Special Selection Smoked Salmon this year - it comes in a 3 pack selection of Whisky, Lemon and Pepper and Gin and Tonic.
Seahawk sells top quality frozen fish, which is a must over the Christmas break. I recently tried some of their Norwegian frozen cod (ice glazed) it was excellent value and was superb. They also sell caviar, so if you fancy digging deep into your pocket for a special treat, they are the people to approach.
On the fresh fish front - the Catch of the Month for me MUST be herrings. They are so fresh they practically wink at you from the box. You will need to buy a whole box, but it won't break the bank and they are simple to prepare: scale, trim and gut.... keep any roes back - and then grill with bacon or pan-fry. Great start and finish to any day.
CEO Billingsgate Seafood School
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7517 3548 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7517 3544
Address: Office 30, Billingsgate Market, Trafalgar Way, London, E14 5ST United Kingdom.
Charity Registration Number: 1069809