We’re surrounded by sea and have one of the largest inland lakes in Europe, yet many of us in Northern Ireland, myself included, are a bit reticent when it comes to fish – unsure how best to cook it and what flavours to pair it with.
Imagine my relief, then, to discover, nestled at the back of my local Tesco, a fish counter with a vast array of seafood and knowledgeable (if a little camera-shy) staff ready with lots of handy cooking tips.
The range had clearly been designed with all sorts of cooks in mind. There were, for example, beautiful Kilkeel scallops and meaty monkfish fillets if you were buying for a dinner party. Alongside those, were convenience options, perfect for the time-pushed diner.
As I fall into the latter category, I went with the helpful advice of Carole and bought a cod-cheek stir fry, marinated monkfish skewers, and a stout and molasses flavoured salmon fillet.
All three provided speedy, tasty meal solutions.
The salmon came in a handy paper bag, to cook in the oven, ‘en papillote’, with myriad cooking instructions printed on the back.
The monkfish skewers, which came coated in crumbs and herbs, take just a few minutes on the grill, while the cod-cheek stir fry came ready seasoned, with red onion, peppers and chili, meaning it just required a quick toss in a hot pan, with some additional veg (optional), a pouch of microwaveable rice and a good slosh of soy sauce.
My fishy trio were delicious, took minutes to prepare and came with a bit of expert guidance that made me feel a little more adventurous when it came to choosing what to cook.
Price-wise, it compares well with regular, supermarket fish. Enough cod-cheek stir fry mix for two people was less than three quid and the monkfish skewers (2) were a pretty reasonable £4.60. They would do nicely for two starter portions or a main for one greedy pescophile. The chunky salmon fillet came in at a competitive £2.70.
If you live a bit more inland, chances are you won’t have a local fishmonger shop on your doorstep. This is the next best thing and with the enormous choice and cleverly considered meal options, an excellent alternative.
If you’re looking for a quick, simple and flavourful way to get your fishy fix, give Keenan a go.