Any good French market will have a fish stall. The choice and quality is superb and means seafood is an affordable and regular part of the French diet. British restaurants can and do obtain seafood as good as any to be found across the channel, but it is less a part of our everyday diet. So whilst seafood is something we should be better supplied with on an island, there seems a lack of local, freshly caught fish for the everyday cook.Thankfully fisheries in parts of England are working well to rapid freeze and deliver seafood in its prime, but you need to look out for this. Local fishmongers are a rare sight and supermarket fish is, in our opinion, very often a bit of a poor relation. The Mediterranean offers France (and other Southern European neighbours) an extra source and variety of seafood, and perhaps this has contributed to a greater presence and variety of fish in the their culinary cultures. Whatever it is, we wish things were better in the UK so we could have more regular seafood on the menu.
If you like fish but are slightly less sure about seafood, crab is a good place to start, especially white crabmeat. Derived from the claw, this is very delicate in taste – slightly sweet yet with oceanic undertones, it has a lovely flaky texture and is very versatile. We rarely have a fresh crab unless we are somewhere we can get a decent one, but often use white crabmeat sold in packs (we particularly like a British company called ‘Seafood and Eat it’ for the quality of their products).
We paired it with coconut, and cabbage in a quick and spicy stirfry. This crab and coconut curry makes a healthy and easy one pot meal.
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of garam masala
- 2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic crushed or pureed
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 red pepper chopped finely
- 250g Pointed cabbage shredded finely
- 100g White crabmeat
- 2 tablespoons of chopped coconut (flakes)
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Warm the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add the spices, garlic, ginger and curry leaves and allow to release their flavour by warming them up for a minute but do not let them burn.
- Add the red pepper and allow to soften a little
- Add the cabbage and cook for a few minutes till the cabbage is al dente but warmed through
- Stir in the crabmeat and coconut, then mix well for a minute to distribute the flavours and spices.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Garnish with chopped coriander
Other links from the internet –
Mamta’s kitchen – Crab Claw Curry
Michelle’s Crab Melon Salad and her cherry tomatoes stuffed with chilli and coriander crabmeat
and Jude’s Breton Crab supper (for the seafood experts out there!)
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Do you eat less seafood than you would like or are do you have a good, local fish supplier near you?