Following the launch of his new cookbook, Christopher Trotter tells us why we should be cooking with the fish that’s on our doorstep and shares an easy recipe we can start cooking now.
Christopher Trotter is no stranger to cooking with the seasons, nor using the abundance of local produce on his doorstep.
A writer of numerous cookbooks, his latest Coasts and Waters, The British Seafood Cookbook was published this week and it brings together two of Christopher’s biggest loves – fish and buying local.
Featuring 50 recipes that use many of the varieties of fish available from Scotland’s shores, one of his aims is to get people more familiar with seafood and cooking with the seasons.
Fish is in season
“What I’ve tried to do is say ‘this fish is in season at this time and these are the types of ingredients you can cook with it’. Some say wild garlic, which is only available at certain times of the year, but fish goes very well with it, so it’s not just the fish which is seasonal,” he said.
“Sustainability means not having to travel far. Tomatoes, when not in season in Scotland or England, are travelling hundreds of miles and cooking with them in January is just ridiculous.
“If you can buy fish, fruit and vegetables from your own region then you’re also helping your local economy and your local producers, farmers and fishmongers as well.
“If we could just remember the seasons and work our way through them, it would also make our eating habits much more interesting.
“A lot of our fish, prior to Brexit was exported, which is really quite an alarming thought. Now, they’re struggling to find markets for them at home.”
‘I love cooking with fish’
Although this is Christopher’s 10th book, with his previous titles including a book dedicated to carrot recipes and one with tomato recipes, seafood has always been his biggest love when it comes to cooking.
He continued: “I love cooking with fish and, no matter where you are in the UK, you’re never more than 45 miles away from the sea. It seems a logical thing to do and is very good for us.
“The variety is fantastic. It’s amazing how many things can go with fish – sometimes it will enhance the flavour, sometimes the texture is more what you’re after.”
Another one of Christopher’s aims with the book is to make cooking with fish as easy as possible in the hope that more people start to incorporate it into their diets.
With this, he’s shared one of his mackerel recipes from the book that people can cook along with at home.
What you will need to cook along: one piece of mackerel, some new potatoes, white wine vinegar, a red onion and some dill and marjoram (or any other green herbs like chives or rosemary).
“Mackerel to me is one of the best fish available at the moment, and there’s loads of it. I think it’s developed a bit of a bad reputation recently and people don’t eat nearly enough of it.
“What I am going to do for this recipe is to grill the mackerel, and make a very simple warm potato salad as tatties are also absolutely in season.
The book is available now from Christopher’s website and is priced at £17.50.