Spring seafood: what should we be eating?

Spring seafood
Oysters at the Waterside Bistro

Most foodies wouldn’t be caught dead buying strawberries in January or asparagus in November, so should we think about seafood in the same way?

Fish and shellfish have their own prime moments, so we asked Matt Buzzo, chef patron of Waterside Bistro in Totnes, to reveal what’s good in the South West right now

Sardines

Local sardines are beginning to be landed around the South West this month. Many are caught off the Cornish coast using ring netting which has been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) since 2010.

Serving suggestion ‘Whole sardines are best grilled until they crisp up and get a bit of colour. Serve them with salsa verde made from foraged wild garlic – see my recipe on our website.’

Porlock Bay oysters

These oysters from the waters off Exmoor might be available all year round but they’re at their absolute best now until May. Whether served ‘natural’, with a little shallot vinegar or grilled with garlic butter, Porlock Bay Oysters are fabulous in early spring.

Serving suggestion ‘Many people like them straight from the shell as nature intended, but I love them lightly grilled with a little garlic butter and a squeeze of lemon.’

Crab

If you’re looking for a sustainable source of south Devon shellfish, ask your fishmonger for crab caught within the Inshore Potting Agreement area. The season starts in May so start bookmarking recipes now.

Serving suggestion ‘Crab is expensive so make it go further by mixing the brown and white meat with potato to craft your own crowd-pleasing crab cakes.’

Surf clams

We source our surf clams from the innovative Exmouth Mussel Company which has developed unique equipment to sustainably farm the fast flowing river Exe. If you usually plump for mussels, try these as an excellent local alternative.

Serving suggestion ‘Steam the clams with a leek brunoise (very fine dice), a good slug of Sandford Orchards Devon Dry Cider and a splash of double cream.’

Norwegian Skrei cod

This cod comes into its prime in spring and is protected by a strict set of quality and sustainability guidelines.

Serving suggestion ‘This is fantastic to cook with and I find that a fresh, chunky cod fillet roasted with the skin on can stand up to quite robust flavour pairings. I love it with puy lentils, smoked bacon lardons and a drizzle of red wine jus.’

www.watersidebistro.com

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