Gurnard my friend

Raw gunard in baking tin on a sofa

Ingrid Rose came to dinner and I pulled out all the stops. She feels strongly about looking after land and sea – so no cutting of ethical corners with Ingrid Rose.

The fish had to be caught sustainably – not plundered from the sea or factory-farmed, she said. I was grateful to be pushed in a real food lover direction.

I dithered at the Hand Picked Shellfish stall at the Bristol Farmer’s market, agonising between two sustainable fish. Would it be familiar mackerel or ugly-looking gurnard?

In an experimental mood, I chose the gurnard although it disturbed the very fibre of my being.

Yet gurnard never let us down. Flesh firm and sweet, similar to sea bass – and at Β£7 a kilo, about a third of the price.

Tragically and incomprehensibly, this sustainable fish is called “jetsam” – thrown back into the sea dead, discarded from a more glamorous, prized catch.

My grandmother would say: You can’t tell a book by its cover.

I felt a pang as I handled the sea creature’s body before cooking. I no longer felt judgmental about its heavy face and lugubrious name.

We roasted it (covered) with thyme, sliced shallots and mushrooms in olive oil for 20 minutes in a hot oven. Served it with faithful brown rice and trusty steamed kale.

I felt the gurnard had entered my life like a family animal or pet – and we ate it.

“Don’t be sad,” said Ingrid Rose. “Gurnards eat other fish.”

Gurnard, kale and brown rice plated with fish carcass in background

2 responses to “Gurnard my friend

  1. Not entirely food related but.

    I had a dream about this Gurnard (in the top picture) last night. It was in the boot of my car on a wooden breadboard (cooked although still looking much like the top picture) and after about two days (he was my friend!) I decided I should probably take him out and … get rid of him (otherwise driving my car would have been something less enjoyable than just riding round with Gurnard my friend).

    I did, I was sad for a few seconds knowing his little face wasn’t there any more.

    Er, yes… anyway πŸ™‚


  2. realfoodlover

    That’s amazing! Sounds like the gurnard has wrought its creature-companion magic in shamanic dream time!


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