Our Fish

 

With our rich fishing heritage dating back to 1870, we’re proud of the fish we catch – yes we catch our own fish! And, unlike any other supplier, we control and have access to an abundance of fresh UK caught fish from our own boats.

Our fresh fish range includes the usually requested fish, such as Salmon, Cod and Haddock but also a more diverse range including many alternatives, many of which you’ve likely never placed onto your menu.

We also develop new products… Recently we launched our Smoked Hake. A lovely innovation, extremely tasty, and has a delicate smoke which compliments the light flavour of the fish – perfect for your summer menu.

We invite you to explore te range of fish we catch and supply. Why not try something new?

 

Our Fish

We supply a large range of fish to a wide range of customers in London, the Home Counties and East Midlands. We strive to supply UK caught fish and seafood and utilise the species in season to ensure our supply is at its freshest and is sustainable from boat to plate.

Whatever you need for your menu, we can supply. Browse our range of fish and seafood products.

If there’s anything else you require, then get in touch we’d be pleased to source it for you.

Coley Fresh from the Boat Wholesale Coley
Brill

Brill is similar to Turbot, yet remains a very underrated fish, despite being generally less expensive. It has an almost oval body, a grey-brown dark side with light and dark freckles (but no tubercles), and ranges from 400g to 4kg. As with Turbot, the skin colour changes according to where it is caught – lighter colours are found on sandy seabeds, with darker, richer colours found on muddier beds.

Admittedly, Turbot’s flesh has larger flakes, but Brill has a sweeter taste, which benefits from a bit more enhancement – try a sauvignon blanc reduction sauce, garnished with a spoonful of Avruga and chopped chives.

With both Turbot and Brill, the smaller fish (under 500g) are best appreciated on the bone, black-skinned and simply pan-fried with a herb butter or simple sauce, while larger fish (3kg+) yield great suprêmes, steaks and pavés which can be pan-fried, grilled, poached or baked.

 

Catfish

The Catfish is mainly the product of by-catch from demersal and longline fisheries targeting species such as Hake, Megrim and Monkfish. Therefore, it is mainly caught using deep-water trawls.

Also known as Wolf Fish, Catfish are found all around the North Atlantic, and have a torpedo shaped body which is usually only available already filleted – probably a good thing, as the whole fish is not particularly attractive, and the skin is tough.

A good buy, the flesh is firm and can be cooked like any Cod-like species.

 

Cod

 

A superb whitefish, to which chefs are coming back to with renewed enthusiasm. It has a long, tapered body with a mixture of sandy-browns, greyish-greens and darker speckles.

Whole Cod range from 500g to over 6kg with the smaller fish (500g to 1.8kg) sometimes known as Codling. While fillets from smaller fish are most commonly used, it’s at its best when loins or suprêmes are cut from larger 4-6kg fish, giving a meatier portion with large, succulent flakes of pure white Cod.

As for cooking, its very versatile and takes most flavours, but requires care as it is easily over-cooked.

 

Cod Cheek

 

Cod cheeks are the cheeks taken from the head of a cod. A favourite among chefs, they are bite sized and slightly firmer than a cod fillet.
These require minimal preparation and are an ideal "light bite" as a starter dish, or part of another dish.

 

Coley

An alternative to Cod and Haddock, also known as Saithe. A long tapered body, with a slight blue tint, coley range from 500g to 6kg but are usually only available as fillets.

Coley can be a good buy, but needs to be as fresh as possible. The flesh is often a dull off-white colour but lightens during cooking and it has a fine flavour.

 

Fork Beard

The Fork Beard is mainly the product of by-catch from demersal and longline fisheries targeting species such as Hake, Megrim and Monkfish. Therefore, it is mainly caught using deep-water trawls.
It is readily available during summer.

Fork Beard is also referred to as the European Forked Hake or Hake’s Dame. It is a member of the cod family and is generally found in water depths from 10m to over 1000m.

Its maximum length is 110cm whilst its maximum weight is 3.5kg. The maximum reported lifespan is that of 20 years.

 

Haddock

A member of the Cod family, haddock is not usually available beyond 3.5kg, so is not good for steaks or suprêmes. The flesh is not as white as Cod, and is not as flaky, but has a slightly sweeter taste, which is why Haddock is the best whitefish for smoking.

Haddock is probably more loved North of the border - order fish and chips in Scotland and it’s battered skinless Haddock you’ll get – not the skin on Cod you get South of the border. Cook and use the same recipes as for Cod.

 

Hake

Surprisingly not more popular in the UK – a large proportion of the UK catch goes to the Spanish, Portuguese and Italians who love it. Ranging from 1 to 5kg, Hake has a long, round, slender body and is mainly grey and silver in colour. Its shape makes it great for cutting into steaks or loin suprêmes.

The flesh is quite soft, but firms up on cooking, has a good flavour, and is well worth trying. For a light, modern alternative to battered Cod, try deepfrying Hake fillets dipped in a light tempura batter.

 

Halibut

The largest of the flatfish. Halibut have been known to grow as large as 300kg and 4m long in deeper waters. This is a highly esteemed and very tasty fish, with creamywhite, firm meaty flesh. It has a compressed oval body with a large mouth. The dark, eye side is a greenishdark brown and the blind side is pure white. Smaller fish (1 to 3kg) are known as ‘baby’ or ‘chick’ halibut, and tend to be found in shallower waters. The better quality fish are usually caught by line, so the catch is limited, making them more expensive.

The larger fish range in size from 3kg to 70kg. As well as being found in the Pacific, North Atlantic and the North Sea, Halibut is now also being successfully farmed, ensuring this exquisite, nutritious species is available year-round. Not to be confused with Mock, Black or Greenland Halibut, all names for an inferior species (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides), it is easily identified, dark brown on both sides and with a slightly gelatinous texture.

The best way to cook Halibut is to poach it either in a good fish stock or white wine, with cooking liquors then used as a base for some superb sauces (delicate flavours work best). Suprêmes are also good pan-fried – but be careful not to over-cook and dry them out.

 

John Dory

Often named St. Peter’s fish (St. Pierre in France, Janitore in Spain), as he is alleged to be the origin of the distinctive dark ‘thumbprint’ (or spot) on its side as a thank you for some help with his tax! The English name John Dory arrived from the French ‘jaune doré’ meaning ‘golden yellow’ – a good description for this unusual looking fish, which varies in size from smaller 230-450g fish up to 2kg. Because of the large head (like Monkfish, this accounts for half its weight), John Dory is best filleted, but beware the low yield (around 35%) and some sharp nasty spines, which require extra care when filleting.

The flesh is creamywhite, with a dense texture similar to Dover Sole, which holds up well during cooking. Ideal panfried or grilled, John Dory works well with Mediterranean flavours, salsas, and peppery sauces. It may be an expensive fish with a low yield – but it’s worth it!

 

Langoustine

As nice as a basket of scampi and chips can be on occasion, it is not the best use of this superb species. Also known as Dublin Bay Prawns, Nephrops and Norwegian Lobster, Langoustines vaguely resemble a large King Prawn, but are actually a closer relation of the Lobster, growing up to 250g.

They are great roasted in the oven and served whole with lemon and mayonnaise or split in half, coated in butter and herbs and grilled. The tail meat has a sweet taste and a prawn-like texture.

 

Lemon Sole

Lemons have an oval body; more rounded than a Dover, with a lighter, yellowy-brown dark side. Ranging in size from 230g to 1kg, Lemon Sole have a sweet delicate flesh, ideal for any sole recipes and work especially well with creamy white wine sauces. As well as being a great fish cooked on the bone, fillets are always popular, and are great for rolling around a filling (delice), then steaming or baking.

While found in the Eastern Atlantic and North Sea, Lemon Sole from the South Coast are generally considered the best, and often command a higher price. A popular fish on Christmas menus.

 

Ling

Ling has a long slender body with a bronze tint, greenish-brown marks, and a white belly. It can grow up to 1.5 metres long, but is usually only available as fillets. It is also often salted and dried. It has firm textured flesh and a good flavour, which takes strong flavours well.

Also look out for Tusk, a relative of Ling with similar characteristics.

Lobster

You can’t beat the wow factor when serving a whole cooked lobster to the customer’s table. Native Lobsters are from coastal waters around the UK and are often considered the best, but are usually all sold locally or exported. Canadian and American Lobsters are caught off the East Coast of Canada and down as far as Maine, and provide a readily available year-round alternative.

There is much debate as to the most humane method for cooking live Lobsters. The Royal Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (RSPCA) recommend you first place them in a freezer for two hours, which renders them unconscious. Then before boiling, drive a sharp pointed knife through the cross on the head (death is instantaneous). This prevents the meat becoming tougher.

You can then plunge them into heavily salted (40g per litre) boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes for 500g adding 2 minutes per additional 100g. Alternatively you can halve the Lobster and grill, or remove the claws and body meat and steam or stir-fry.

 

Mackerel

A superb fish, great value, readily available and yet, amazingly underrated. Ranging in size from 200-800g, Mackerel has a bullet shaped body with silvery-blue skin with dark wavy stripes. One of the richest sources of Omega-3,  Mackerel has greyish flesh with a rich flavour, which is best grilled or baked. Any sauce should be sharp to complement its rich flavour – try gooseberry, sorrel, rhubarb, cranberry, redcurrant or mustard – avoid anything creamy or buttery. Marinating in citrus juices is also good. Mackerel is highly rated in Japanese cuisine, where whole fish are marinated in soy before grilling or griddling – definitely worth trying.

As with most oil-rich fish, it is good for smoking, and makes a great paté. While Herring provides the best alternative, Mackerel is closely related to Tuna, Bonito, Kingfish and Wahoo.

 

Megrim

Megrim, also known as Whiff, is more loved by the Spanish than in the UK. It has an oval body similar to Lemon Sole with a sandy-brown dark side but is from the same family as Turbot and Brill.

 

Monk

An ugly fish, which has a huge head, accounting for half the fish’s weight. However, there is inner beauty! Usually only the tails are sold, and range from 350g to 4kg. Once skinned, trimmed and the membrane removed, the tails yield some fantastic meat, with a firm, meaty texture and a taste similar to langoustine / scampi.

In the 1970s Monkfish was only fished commercially as a cheap scampi substitute! Great for searing and then roasting, Monkfish will take on strong flavours and herbs well. Particularly good coated with chopped rosemary and olive oil, wrapped in Parma ham and baked.

The liver is also highly prized, and is a delicacy in Japan where it determines the price of the fish. Similar species known as ‘Stargazers’ are found in warmer waters around Australia and New Zealand but are a bony fish, not cartilaginous like the European Monkfish.

 

Monk Cheek

 

Monk cheeks are boneless and skinless cheeks taken from a Monkfish. Monk cheeks have the same texture and firm flesh as Monk Fillets, but are often a lot cheaper. The cheeks are pre cut into chunks ready for cooking. Monk cheeks are great as they utilise every part of the fish, are low in cost and super tasty.

 

Mussels

Rope-grown Mussels are cultivated on suspended ropes, which ensures they don’t touch the seabed and pick up grit and barnacles. Their bluish-black shells are thinner as they are grown in sheltered waters so the shells don’t need to endure stormy seas. The meat content is higher as they are not exposed at low tides and so constantly feed. Rope grown Mussels are available year round although not at their best in the summer months. Dredged Mussels can be much cheaper, but need more cleaning to remove the sand and grit. Dredging runs from August through to May.

You should only eat mussels in a month with an "R" in. Mussels spawn in the spring months and as such their meat content is much lower, they're much better in season. Mussels make a fine starter, lunch or main course.

Ensure the Mussels are clean and free of barnacles; remove any ‘beard’ (also known as ‘byssus thread’, and is what attached the Mussel to the rope or rock it grew on), and simply steam in the serving sauce or over a bed of seaweed. Discard any that do not open. There are classic recipes such as moules marinières and moules provençale, and you can’t imagine paella without them.

Frozen Mussels are good quality, and include New Zealand Greenlip Mussels, which have a different taste and are much bigger, making them great for topping and grilling.

 

Plaice

Unlike Dover Sole, Plaice is best eaten as fresh as possible, as the flavour quickly fades. Ranging from 230g to 2kg, whole fish is easily identified by its distinctive orange spots, which also give an indication of the freshness (the brighter the spots, the fresher the Plaice).

It is as pronounced a flavour as Lemon Sole, but it takes sauces and other flavours very well, and is great for battering. Cook on the bone (with the black skin removed) to get the best from the flavour, or use fillets with a sauce or filling. Best avoided when in roe (around February to April), as the flesh is thin and watery.

 

Pollack

Closely related to Coley, and the two are often confused. Whole fish range from 500g to 3kg. Pollack is a good tasting fish, and is popular in France where much of our catch goes.

 

Ray Wings

Rays are a member of the Shark family. They have pectoral fins that are known as wings. Rays lie flat on the seabed and burrow into the sand for camoflage. Rays mainly eat other smaller fish and crustaceans found on the ocean floor.

Ray wings must be very fresh before cooking, and must be kept very cold. If you cannot prepare the wings on the day you buy them, then simply skin, fillet and freeze your portions.

Ray wings are usually cut into 2, so the wing you buy will be half a wing and triangular in shape.

Because Ray wings are so delicate and grooved, heat from cooking will penetrate the flesh quickly so be careful not to overcook and this will spoil the texture of the fish.

Red Gurnard

The most common variations are Red, Grey and Yellow / Tub Gurnards, but they are very similar in shape and taste, it’s just the skin colours that change. They are found around the UK and the Mediterranean from 350g to 2.5kg, and are always a good buy.

Commonly used for stocks, soups and bouillabaisse, Gurnard is not a big seller despite being rated by several well-known chefs. Although it is bony, Gurnard has a good flavour, firm textured flesh, takes strong flavours and pan-fries or grills well.

 

Scallops

The attractive fan-shaped shells contain translucent offwhite meat wrapped with a bright orange roe or coral, which has a different taste and texture. The membrane, grey-brown frill and black thread of intestine are all discarded. King Scallops have approximately 15cm wide shells (one rounded, one flat) and you get 18 to 35 pieces of meat per kg. Queen Scallops have approximately 7cm wide shells (both rounded), and you get 40 to 120 pieces of meat per kg.

They can be sold either in the shell or as shelled meat – with or without the roe. The easiest way of catching Scallops is through dredging, but we also have a market for premium quality diver-caught Scallops. Because the meat acts like a sponge, there is a long history of ‘soaking’ Scallops to increase the weight. A superb starter with or without shells, Scallop meat has a sweet, delicate flavour, and requires very little cooking – the simpler the better. Best either steamed, pan-fried or grilled.

 

Squid

Squid, also known as Calamari or Chipirones are the best loved cephalopod. Squid has a firm texture, and a strong flavour. Also known as Calamari, Squid range in size from 10g to 1kg.

To clean and prepare Squid, pull the body from the tentacles. Cut the head from the tentacles just below the eyes and discard (though you may want to save the ink sack* if you can find it – invariably they will have ‘shot’ it on capture). Squeeze out the ‘beak’ from the centre of the tentacles. Remove the quill from inside the body (looks like a piece of transparent plastic), wash it out and then wash off the membrane on the outside. Then cut the fins from the body, which like the tentacles, can be kept and used.

Once cleaned and prepared, the body (or tube) can be good for stuffing and steaming or baking, small whole Squid can be grilled, pan-fried or griddled and large Squid can be opened out flat, scored and cut into pieces with the tentacles for stir-frying. *Squid ink is widely used in making pasta and risotto, and gives it a rich black colour and a delicious fishy taste.

 

Turbot

Like Halibut, Turbot is a highly prized species and often regarded as the best of the flatfish with great flavour and firm, white flesh. It has an almost round shaped body, studded with bony tubercles on its dark side. Colour varies from light to dark brown, spotted with green or black and a white blind side.

Turbot ranges in size from 400g to 10kg. The texture is similar to Halibut, but it has a slightly more pronounced ‘fishy’ taste, so requires very little to enhance the flavour. It’s also a chef’s dream, as it retains plenty of moisture during cooking, preventing it from drying out – ideal for functions. Turbot are now also being successfully farmed giving good availability, and are distinguished by their lighter skin.

 

Tusk

Tusk belong to the cod family but differ from their relatives with their continuous dorsal fin. It is a lean fish with a high protein content. With its mild, lobster-like taste, it is well-suited to stir-frys, for example.

 

Whiting

A smaller fish from the Cod family, with a silvery-grey body and rounded belly, and rarely found over 2kg. This is often an overlooked fish but, like Coley, Whiting fillets are a good buy when very fresh, but can be easily overcooked.

 

Wild Salmon

Salmon is commonly prized for its health benefits; It is a fatty fish that is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which most people don't get enough of.

Wild salmon is just as it says - caught in the wild, in its natural environment... oceans, rivers and lakes.

The colouration of young Atlantic salmon does not resemble the adult stage. While they live in fresh water, they have blue and red spots. At maturity, they take on a silver-blue sheen.

The easiest way of identifying them as an adult is by the black spots predominantly above the lateral line, though the caudal fin is usually unspotted. When they reproduce, males take on a slight green or red colouration.

The salmon has a fusiform body, and well-developed teeth. All fins, save the adipose, are bordered with black.

After two years at sea, the fish average 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 in) in length and 3.6 to 5.4 kg (7.9 to 11.9 lb) in weight.

Wild Sea Trout

This much sought-after fish is wild, and often known as Ocean Trout or Salmon Trout as it has a very similar appearance to Salmon, with a taste and texture midway between the two. Although it is classed as the same species as Brown Trout, Sea Trout migrates to the sea, which the Brown Trout doesn’t.

The season runs from 1 March to 31 August, though it is now being farmed which will widen the availability. Ranges in size up to 5kg, and can be cooked as with Salmon or Trout.

 

Witch Sole

Witch, also known as Torbay Sole, has a similar appearance to Dover Sole, and is from the same family as Lemon Sole and Plaice. Both Megrim and Witch are generally fished off the southwest coast and down the Atlantic coast of Europe and range in size from 225g to 900g.

They can be a good buy when at their freshest, are best cooked on the bone and require careful cooking to avoid drying out.

 

Bass - Farmed

In the wild they are found from the Mediterranean to Norway in spring and summer, grow up to 7kg, and are a prize catch, especially when line-caught. Now, thanks to farming in the Mediterranean, this highly rated fish is not only considerably more affordable, abut available in plentiful supply all year round. The only difference is that farmed Bass have a slightly higher fat content.

Fish from 300g-600g are ideal for simply gutting, scaling, stuffing with herbs and baking or grilling. Skin-on fillets (two per person from a 400-600g fish, or one from a 800g+ fish) are great for grilling or pan-frying. Large wild fish over 3kg also yield good suprêmes.

Sea Bass has a delightful flavour which stands on its own, but also works with stronger flavours, and is particularly popular in Thai cuisine.

 

Bream - Farmed

There is a wide range of Sea Breams out there, some do find their way up the Gulf Stream to the south coast, but the majority are fished in the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa.

Varieties include Black, Black Banded, Red, Pink, White, Yellowfin, Theadfin, Gilthead and Ray’s Bream, along with Pagre, Porgy and Dentex, but do not confuse with freshwater Breams. Sizes range from 300g to 1kg, though they tend to average at around 450g making Sea Bream a great fish for serving whole.

The larger 800g+ fish provide some good size fillets. Can be grilled, baked, steamed, poached or pan-fried. At it’s best with lighter, subtler flavours, and with any Mediterranean flavours. Sea Bream are also farmed in the Mediterranean.

 

Meagre - Farmed

Meagre is a fish of the family Sciaenidae. It is similar in form to a European Seabass, with a pearly-silver coloration and a yellow-coloured mouth.

Length can range from 40–50 cm to 2 m long, with weights up to 55 kg.

 

Salmon - Farmed

 

Farmed fish range from 2kg to 8kg. Certified organic farmed Salmon is also available on request – wild caught fish are not classed as organic! The most popular portion is the suprême – with or without the skin, though steaks are also widely used and are good value. Salmon can be cooked in most ways, with a vast array of flavours and recipes. It is also very good eaten cold with a flavoured mayonnaise, making it a good choice for summer functions.

 

Trout - Chalkstream

Chalk Stream Trout is some of the tastiest, richest and leanest in the UK as a result of their unique natural habitat. These world famous spring-fed chalk streams with ‘gin clear’ water, constant water flows and excellent light and vegetation create havens for our fish.

The beautiful chalk streams give the fish a distinct, sensational taste whether smoked or fresh.

Click HERE to find out more from our Chalkstream Trout partners

 

Trout - Sea Reared

 

This much sought-after fish is wild, and often known as Ocean Trout or Salmon Trout as it has a very similar appearance to Salmon, with a taste and texture midway between the two.

Although it is classed as the same species as Brown Trout, Sea Trout migrates to the sea, which the Brown Trout doesn’t. The season runs from 1 March to 31 August, though it is now being farmed which will widen the availability. Ranges in size up to 5kg, and can be cooked as with Salmon or Trout.