January is a great month for returning duplicate presents and exchanging ill-fitting cardigans but, more importantly, it’s prime time for seafood! With cold water surrounding our little island, the seafood is having one serious party. There’s clams, cockles, mussels, oysters, winkles, dover sole, dab, hake, langoustine, lemon sole and halibut all readily available (to name but a few). All of which you should be able to pick up from a good fish monger.
If you’ve got some top quality fish you shouldn’t be spending all evening in the kitchen, it should simply require a little preparation and some quick cooking. Cockles and mussels are a great example – just add them to some frying onions, before adding ginger, chilli and garlic and a glass of good white. The shells will open to reveal the delicious meat inside and the flavours in the sauce will be fantastic.
I served some of the most delicious oysters at a canapé party at the end of December. Classed as AA oysters they were the biggest I have ever served. Oysters are notoriously fiddly to open, but once you’ve cracked it a good squeeze of orange juice, a little chopped raw fennel and a drop of Tabasco makes it all worthwhile!
With Christmas a distant memory for those of us back to work and, thankfully, seemingly endless turkey remnants now off the menu, January is a time to watch the bank balance and perhaps do some serious home cooking rather than eating out. Keep an eye out for some superb recipes on the site which will provide some ideal inspiration, but feel free to drop me an email or send me a tweet (@chefjongay) if you would like a specific recipe or if you have any seafood questions.
Happy New Year!