Fish are among the healthiest foods you can eat, loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D, we should all try to eat more, so we asked Willie Little to give us some tips on the best ways to get more fish into our diets.

Willie Little is passionate about fresh fish. As the proprietor of Littles Restaurant in Blairgowrie and Fish In Crieff fishmongers in Crieff High Street he certainly knows a thing or two about fish and seafood – where to buy it and how to cook it – here are his tips on how to eat more fish and particularly getting children to try more different types of fish:

Variety

As a fantastic source of protein and a relatively affordable food which is quick to cook, we should all be eating more fish in Scotland.

We have a huge variety of fish in Scottish waters, tasty meaty fish like Blue Ling, a variety many people are unaware of, so often opting for the usual offerings in the supermarket.

Willie checking out fresh produce. Picture: contributed

Willie checking out fresh produce. Picture: contributed

There is also Pollack, Hake and Bass – give these a try. Hake is delicious simply panfried with a herb and lemon butter sauce whilst Pollack can be cooked with a lemon pepper seasoning and a Parmesan cream sauce and broccoli florets.

Freshness

I’ve been passionate about the very freshest fish and seafood for many years as I used to wholesale fish for supply to restaurants.

I used to go up to the fish markets in Peterhead and other parts of Scotland to buy direct from the fishermen and the divers. I knew exactly where the fish was coming from.

When I set up my own fishmongers in Crieff ten years ago I kept on doing this to have a fish shop with as wide a variety as possible and straight into the shop for sale as soon as possible. Five years later I added my restaurant Littles in Blairgowrie and obviously use the same trusted contacts and suppliers.

I don’t just offer fish and seafood on the menu but it is a huge part of our offering. It is quite unusual for a land locked rural wee place like Blairgowrie, best known for berries, to have a fish restaurant but it works well for me as I split my time between the fishmongers and the restaurant.

I pride myself on quality ingredients, and on keeping my specials fresh and interesting for the customers. Often I may not know exactly what is going to be offered as specials on the menu as it will depend on my contacts and what has been landed that day!

Fish from supermarkets simply cannot compete with the freshness of fishmongers, as by the time it has reached the supermarket shelves, it has endured a much longer travel time.

Get to know your local fishmonger – he can advise on what types of fish are good to try for the more fussy eater – he has a wealth of knowledge on preparing and cooking fish too.

Try tuna for those fussy eaters and those who say they don’t like fish. It has very few bones and a meaty texture.

Children

For children perseverance is key. Keep trying them with different types of fish, but make it fun too with homemade fish fingers and fish cakes served with delicious dips – fish wraps with a homemade fish burger and crunchy lettuce is another tasty and nutritious idea.

Pea and salmon tagliatelle is a great way to combine pasta with fish. My fish pie recipe appeals to all ages – children tend to like fish pies as there are no visible bones. It’s certainly a crowd pleaser and you can get packs of fish for pies from the fishmonger which are even more cost effective.

RECIPES:

Blue ling with a paprika crust
(Deep Water Blue Ling landed at Kinlochbervie Harbour)

Serves 2

tefal

Ingredients:
• 2 x 150g – 200g Blue Ling Fillets (skin off)
• 1 head Pak Choi (blanched)
• 1 head Purple Sprouting Broccoli
• 6 Shiitake Mushrooms
• 1 Carrot cooked and sliced
• 1 tbsp Olive Oil
• Knob Butter
• 2 tbsp Crème Fraiche
• 150ml White Wine
• Lemon Juice
• 1 tsp Paprika, Salt, Black Pepper mixed
• seasoned flour for dusting broccoli

Method:

1 Season Blue Ling by dipping top side only in paprika mixture, then heat olive oil in frying pan and place fish paprika side down in pan.

2 Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, turn and cook for further 2 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to rest in a warm place.

3 Add white wine to same pan and reduce by half, add crème fraiche and when simmering whisk in knob of butter. Squeeze in lemon juice and add sliced cooked carrot. Place Blue Ling back in pan with crust side up and remove from heat.

4 Meanwhile dust broccoli in seasoned flour and deep fry in sunflower oil until brown and crispy.

5 In another pan quickly saute blanched pak choi and shiitake mushrooms taking care not to colour.

6 Make sure all liquid has evaporated from pak choi before serving

7 To serve place pak choi and mushrooms in centre of serving plate, top with blue ling (crust side up) and finally top with crisp broccoli. Finish by spooning sauce and carrots over fish dish as per illustration.

Family friendly fish pie

Serves 4

Urban13

Ingredients:

• 500g mixed white fish (cut in chunks) – can be smoked or plain although smoked gives a lovely flavour
• 480g tub Katy Rogers Crème Fraiche
• 2 Hard Boiled Eggs (chopped)
• 500g Mashed Potato
• 100g Mull of Kintyre Cheddar (grated)
• 1 tbsp chopped Parsley
• Knob Butter to grease pie dish
• Salt and Pepper
• Mara Seaweed Dulse – (a sprinkle) – maraseaweed.com

Method:

1 Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5, 190 or 375 degrees.

2 Dry fish, place in a bowl mix with crème fraiche, then season with salt and pepper and place in a buttered pie dish and add chopped egg and parsley.

3 Top with mash potato and smooth with palette knife (if feeling adventurous then use a piping bag).

4 Top potato with grated cheddar and a dust of the Mara Seaweed Dulse (seaweed will give a slight smoked flavour).

5 Place pie dish in a bain marie (a tray with some boiling water) and put in oven for 45 mins or until sauce appears up side of mash and the top is crispy and light brown.

6 Allow to rest for 4 – 5 mins before serving.

 

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