On Sunday I crossed counties from Devon to Cornwall. My mission: to buy fish. On a Sunday.
As I drove westward, on my right was the grey/green Atlantic ocean. But I knew its proximity did not guarantee I could buy fish landed from its waters.
We have lost the art of buying fresh fish caught locally. Most fish nowadays is sold in supermarkets. Much comes from far away and has probably been frozen.
This is the tragedy of (so-called) developed countries. The only thing which has developed is mass industrialisation. Thus fishmongers are in danger of becoming an extinct species, swallowed up in the jaws of the supermarket.
But not in Widemouth Bay. Perched above its windswept beach is Beach House Wet Fish , probably one of the best wet fish shops around. And it’s open on a Sunday (until 5.30pm).
The lovely fish lady was apologetic the local boats were not out yet this year. So, my fish came from Looe, a bit further down the coast.
All the fish and shellfish in the bowl (pic above) was bought at Widemouth Bay: the scallops, the mussels, the little red mullets perched atop (which I roasted quickly in a hot oven and added with the fried scallops right at the end of the mussels cooking in the water flavoured with a fillet of ling, fried onion and fennel, and fresh parsley and tarragon).
Here is more detail on an earlier fish soup.
The black and white bits in the above pic are actually pasta, farfalle zebra, coloured with black squid juice (the packet has not been opened for a year but this soup was the right occasion).
I am only sorry I had to drive to get there and back (one hour and a half in total) because I consider cars to be cold mean death machines that are bad for the planet as well as my soul.