With Christmas coming up, that means fish on the menu! One of the amazing things about what we do here at Oak Bay Seafood is our year-round seasonality, which means we have delicious fresh seafood for every season.
We have a wide variety of seafood for you to choose from, and we think this month’s piece really highlights that.
Here we take an in-depth look at the beauty of using whole fish, a delicate and simple scallop dish that is elegant and deep in flavour, and a sampling of salmon ideas for your Christmas meal.
The Fish, The Whole Fish, And Nothing But The Fish
Long before the rise of pre-processed fillets and fish counters full of prepared food, using and knowing what to do with a whole fish was the norm.
And today we want to exalt for the values of buying and using a whole fish!
Why We Love Whole Fish And Think You Should Too
Let’s begin with the most important thing to us at Oak Bay Seafood: sustainability.
Sustainability is vital to maintaining our environment and ensuring that fish stocks remain plentiful for generations to come.
The more people use whole fish, the easier this practice becomes, as when fish are sold as fillets there is some waste due to the preparation. This doesn’t happen with whole fish.
So whether you’re serving them as a single entity, or using multiple parts of the fish for different dishes, purchasing a whole fish will be a little bit more environmentally friendly.
Serve Whole Fish
The first thing that always comes to mind when we think of whole fish is, in a word: wow! There really is no substitute for the dramatic presentation you get when you serve a whole fish.
And then, there’s the taste. Whole fish definitely tastes better, and this isn’t just perceived wisdom, - cooking fish on the bone really does give you a more succulent and flavourful meat to serve.
This is because the fatty skin helps to seal in moisture, and the gelatin in the backbone works as a heat conductor.
Nose To Tail Cooking, But For Fish!
Nose to tail cooking (using every piece of the animal) has been one of the best trends in the restaurant industry in recent years. This encourages sustainable practices and giving diners a wider palate of textures and flavours — but for the home cook this is more than a little impractical!
That’s where fish comes in. If you’re questioning just how far one fish can go, let’s take a look at the humble salmon:
- Salmon fillets
A classic and versatile ingredients that can be used in cuisines from across the world, from France to Sri Lanka.
- Fish stock
By cooking down the bones with aromatics and vegetables, you get a delicious stock that can serve as a base for broths and sauces
- Salmon collar
This is the part of the fish behind the head and gills that extends to where you sliced off the fillet. It includes the pectoral fins, and is delicious grilled
Another benefit to buying whole fish — it’s as fresh as it gets! We bring you the freshest catch, seasonally and sustainability caught from the waters around BC.
Christmas Treats With Salmon
For some, seafood might not be the first thing thought of when planning a Christmas menu, for others it is an integral part of the Holiday season.
With that in mind, we’ve picked one of our best ingredients – salmon – and highlighted why it will go well with your Christmas meal, and spotlighted a few of our favourite ways of cooking it.
Special Salmon Canapes
This idea will seem incredibly obvious when you think about it. Salmon is one of the most versatile and delightful canape ingredients out there, which means it lends itself to the party atmosphere of the festive season and lends your Christmas spread a touch of class.
Try these salmon canape ideas:
- Salmon terrine
- You’ll need a small terrine mold and a food processor, but after that, this is all simplistic elegance. Blitz together salmon, cream, and a healthy dash of lemon and herbs, chill in terrine mold (or other tin), then spread it over some crisp sourdough
- Salmon blinis
Make your blini, a small savoury yeasted pancake, and then top with a mixture of salmon and cream cheese (Plus caviar or fish roe, if you’re feeling really extravagant!)
- Salmon and creme fraiche “shot”
No, you don’t actually down the salmon (seriously, please don’t!). Instead, you make a lovely creamy sauce out of it, top it with a watercress puree and garnish it with pickled cucumber. Then, serve it in a tall shot glass for a fun conversation-starting canape
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this fantastic ingredient. You can never go wrong pairing it with that Canadian classic maple syrup, especially at Christmas — and we have everything you could want when it comes to Salmon, from our sockeye fillets to our smoked sockeye.
Prized for their rich flesh, scallops can be found on fine dining menus across the world, and they’re equally easy to spot on the beach, with their distinctive ridged shells.
Different species of scallop will be found on each of Canada’s coasts: with Japanese and Pacific hybrids on the west, and sea and bay scallops on the east.
Not just on the menu at fancy restaurants, scallops are a delicious appetizer that you can make at home with just a few ingredients.
Pan-Fried Scallops With Grapefruit Salad Recipe
When it comes to scallops, we favour tried and tested combinations served with elegant simplicity. There are few things more delightful than a pan-seared scallop, with that rich and juicy taste that sits perfectly alongside sharp citrus flavours.
That’s why we’re pairing our pan-fried scallops with a simple grapefruit salad.
- 8 scallops
- 2 TBS of sunflower oil
- Sea salt
- ½ lemon to juice
- 1 TBS butter
- 4 ruby grapefruits, cut into segments
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 red chilli, sliced
- 10 g coriander leaves, chopped
- ½ lime to juice
- 2 TBS good quality olive oil
Begin by preparing your salad, which can be made ahead and stored if you’re short on time. Combine the diced shallots, grapefruit segments, red chilli, coriander. Stir in the lime juice and olive oil and set aside. Prepare the salad before the scallops, as cooking will be a quick process and you’ll want to serve immediately.
If your scallops are still in the shell, you’ll need to prepare them by opening the shells with a small sharp knife and carefully removing the meat. Then wash them in cold water and pat dry.
Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. When hot but not smoking, add the scallops, cooking on one side for 2-3 minutes until they’re golden.
Flip the scallops and add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice before removing the pan from the heat and allowing the scallops to cook for a further minute in the residual heat.
Serve with a dash of sea salt on top alongside the dressed salad.
No matter if you’re making the most of a whole fish or preparing delicate scallops, you’ll be able to find the finest quality here at Oak Bay Seafood, where we highlight sustainable seasonal produce all year round.
We hope you have a joyful and safe holiday season.