Plaice, the stalwart of the fish and chip shop. The humble flat fish consistently present in our lives.
The plaice season started a couple of months ago, although this year the actual season started a little late due to the winter water temperatures, the season is now in full swing and plaice are plentiful and in great condition.
Plaice is a flat fish with a slightly sweet delicate flavour. It’s seen as extremely versatile and can be poached, baked or pan fried. It’s an interesting looking fish with a dark green olive colour and bright orange spots. The brighter the spots the fresher the fish. They start life looking like a traditional fish, swimming upright with eyes either side of their heads. As they mature the eyes move to the top of the head and they start to swim on their side, which now becomes their underbelly. This has puzzled scientists who have studied this for years and continue to do so. No one really understands why this happens on flat fish and not in other species.
Plaice live on the seabed once they have gone “sideways” and feed off creatures that live there. Their diet mainly consists of worms, small crustaceans or other little critters that live on the seabed.
During their spawning season plaice migrate to deeper waters. They stay there until they have spawned and then return to shallower waters. It’s during their spawning season that plaice develop a poor overall condition as they generally starve themselves before they breed. The fish also develop soft bellies, much like the consistency of jelly, and should be avoided during those months not only because the condition of the flesh is poor, but because we don’t catch or supply spawning fish.
We let our fish stocks grow and recover naturally and spawning is part of that process. When a fish is out of season a good practice would be to source an alternative, not pursue the species you want to extinction.
Once thought to be in danger of being over-fished, plaice now reside on the list of fish of least concern – meaning there’s plenty of them and they’re spawning in large numbers. This is due to the seasonal restrictions put into action to secure the future of the species and prevent over fishing. This method clearly works.
The plaice season properly starts in June thru to October when the fish are in great condition and plentiful. They are as “fat as butter”, as the saying goes, with all sizes available.
Our preparation complex manager, Glen, has 25 years’ experience dealing with and sourcing plaice – it’s a bit of a specialty and one of Glen’s favourite species. Our team in Grimsby can prepare our plaice in any way you desire such as skin-off, fillet, quarter cut and more – all cut by hand.
As a nation we need to use species that are in season – it’s our responsibility. We have to decrease pressure on fish that are in danger of becoming overfished or those that are in such demand the prices are sky high.
The humble plaice has a place in our hearts as it’s unassuming, tasty, versatile and inexpensive.
Order your fresh plaice today by calling 01279 50 10 51.
Our boats catching plaice right now: –
Ardent Attain Courageous Ocean Dawn