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Sunday 30 April 2017

Oily Fish ... did you know !

CJ Jackson writes for BBC Food, she is also in the team at the Billingsgate Seafood School which is "a charitable company with the aim of promoting the awareness of fish in young people and to increase the knowledge of those people already working in the industry, in areas such as retail and catering. All commercial activities undertaken by the school will fund courses for school children free of charge."

About oily fish she writes:
" Oil-rich fish (or oily fish) are those that have oil distributed through their body, as opposed to white fish, whose main concentration of oils is located in the liver. Although oily fish contain higher levels of oil, they are an essential part of a healthy diet due to the presence of the fatty acid, long-chain omega-3. Oil-rich species include the mackerel and tuna group, herring and anchovy group, as well as salmon and trout. The most sustainable varieties of oily fish are mackerel, pilchards, sardines, herring and skipjack tuna (usually sold canned).

Buyer's guide:
In most cases, fresh is best when it comes to choosing oil-rich fish species because the natural fats occurring in these fish deteriorate and they lose their quality quickly. Oily fish tend to be landed and sold un-gutted to maintain their quality. They’re generally also good value for money. Look for fish that are still stiff and rigid and in ‘rigor mortis’ – this will indicate that the fish has been out of the water for no more than a day or so. At this stage the fish will have bright, clear eyes, the gills will be a vibrant, red colour and it will hardly have any smell at all. As the fish loses condition it will become softer and its smell will become stronger.

Oily fish must be stored in as cool a place as possible and eaten quickly, ideally on the day of purchase. Arrange it in a single layer on a tray and keep cool by covering the fish with ice. Oil-rich species freeze well for a short period of time: gut or fillet them, pack into freezer bags as whole fish (or two portions at a time), extract the air and secure the bag. Defrost the fish for a few hours in the fridge before use.

Oily fish are versatile. They suit grilling, barbecuing, roasting and baking and, in some cases, pan-frying. The natural oils give these fish an intense flavour that pairs well with other strong flavours.
Oily fish can also be successfully preserved - smoking, brining and salting are all popular preserving methods. Mackerel is available both hot-smoked and salted; tuna and mackerel are both sold canned too. Herrings can be smoked or transformed into rollmops; anchovies are salted and brined. Salmon and trout can both be hot or cold-smoked.

Other considerations:
Omega-3 is reported to be essential for maintaining good health and preventing diseases in old-age. It's also important for brain development in young children. However, the Food Standards Agency advises a limit to the quantity of oily fish that we should eat because these fish contain more mercury than other types of fish. The FSA recommends that girls and women who might have a baby one day, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding eat up to two portions of oily fish per week. Other women, men and boys can eat up to four portions of oily fish a week. In addition, marlin, shark and swordfish are not recommended for consumption by boys or girls under 16 or by pregnant women or women who may wish to become pregnant."

Above words from

Mackerel on toast with salted cucumber and horseradish

A combination of fresh mackerel, pungent horseradish and refreshing cucumber can make a nice start to any meal ... or could even make a light lunch!

Serves Four
½ cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
4 tbsp grated fresh horseradish*
2 heaped tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tsp English mustard powder
4 fresh mackerel fillets
salt and freshly ground black pepper
knob of butter
To serve:
4 slices low carb bread (or soda bread)
, toasted, buttered
1 small red onion
, thinly sliced
½ small lemon

1. For the salted cucumber, place the cucumber slices into a colander and sprinkle with plenty of salt. Mix well and leave the contents to drain over the sink for half an hour.
2. Rinse the salt off the cucumber with cold water, then leave to drain. Gently wring out any excess moisture from the cucumber with your hands, then set aside.
3. In a clean bowl, mix the horseradish with the crème fraîche and mustard powder, making sure the mustard powder is well combined with no lumps. Set aside.
4. Season the mackerel fillets on their skin side with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Heat the butter in a frying pan until it is foaming, then add the fillets skin-side down. Place a heat-proof plate onto the cooking fillets, as this will make sure they stay flat and cook evenly. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until nearly cooked through, then turn the fillets and cook for 30 seconds, or until just cooked through.
6. To serve, place a small handful of the cucumber onto the toast. Place the cooked mackerel fillets onto the cucumber. Place a dollop of the horseradish sauce on top and garnish with a little of the sliced red onion and a squeeze of lemon.

* Fresh horseradish is difficult to source, try a good farmers' market. Otherwise consider using a ready made horseradish sauce, being careful to check carb/sugar content.

Original BBC Food recipe here

A variety of articles and recipe ideas are within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


Revrunner said...

Oh, yeah! One of the reasons I try to include fish in my diet at least once or twice a week.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Some great advice about oily fish there, Jan. I didn't know half of this until recently, despite my advanced learning and years...and the recipe looks delicious!

only slightly confused said...

Salmon and Steelhead Trout are my favourites....salad and fish...natures fast food.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Yes oily fish are great! I'd recommend always avoiding swordfish (and probably sharks too) though as many of their populations are endangered

DMS said...

This was chocked full of great information! I learned a ton! I really enjoy fish, but almost never make it at home because I don't feel like I know what I am doing. I will have to work on that. :)

Christine said...

I am inspired to try mackerel fillets! Here's to oily fish!

JFM said...

Your fish posts are wonderful and look great all of the time Jan...but hubby won't go there at all~

Big Hugs~

Valerie-Jael said...

Yummy! I love fish, and had grilled haddock today. Thanks for sharing the recipe here. Hugs, Valerie

DeniseinVA said...

Always enjoy these informative posts and delicious recipes. Thank you Jan :)

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It's mostly salmon for me, I love it. Our diet is really healthy, it's what I eat in between that's the problem.. any advice on how to stop that Jan?

Mary Kirkland said...

I like some fish, not many though.

H.R. Bennett said...

Mmm. Makes me wanna go fishing. I haven't caught and smoked anything in a while.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Unfortunately when one doesn't grow up eating fish, it's mostly canned tuna and salmon for us but our doctor keeps urging us to eat more fish.

Sue (this n that) said...

Always great to get these reminders... the weeks slip by so quickly, its easy to forget to have fish more often, so, thank you :D)

Sandra Cox said...

I just came from Elizabeth's and her post is on fish too:)

Linda said...

Yes, oily fish has many benefits. It's a shame that some kinds are so contaminated. Some day there may be very little food that is safe to eat!

Linda P said...

Good information here. Thank you.

River said...

I eat canned tuna a coupe of times a week and in the winter I add canned herring, usually in sandwiches on rye bread. I top up with a daily dose of cod liver oil in capsule form all year round.

NatureFootstep said...

well, in most cases I think the fish should stay in the water. We are eating them all up :(

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for all your comments here ...

Grace at PerthDailyPhoto said:
"It's mostly salmon for me, I love it. Our diet is really healthy, it's what I eat in between that's the problem.. any advice on how to stop that Jan?"

When we first started on the LCHF lifestyle, I knew temptation may well be possible with certain foods and in-between nibbles so I took the decision NOT to buy or have any of it in the house! This worked for us, and we adjusted well to not eating too much carbohydrates/sugars.
There are so many alternative LCHF recipes that also include the occasional 'lower sweet treat' that can be enjoyed. I think planning ahead is key ...

Have a great month of May

All the best Jan

Lorrie said...

We enjoy salmon very much, and halibut and try to eat it every week. The mackeral on toast looks delicious!

Magic Love Crow said...

Great post Jan and thank you for the advice about nibbling! Big Hugs!

riitta k said...

Of oily fish I use most salmon - my favourite! - and canned tuna.. They are so good with their omega 3! Have a nice week Jan!

Lisa said...

I do love tuna in a sandwich but I very rarely make one, that's something I can do something about.
And I love mackerel but don't buy that often.
Lisa x