Having trouble choosing your fish supper? Port Vendres Fish market, or the fish counters of major supermarkets as well as most fish shops will certainly have a few of the following fish,  with which you can vary your summer menus. Fish is so quick to cook and so scrumptious when fresh it is a shame not to take advantage of the many varieties on sale here in the Pyréneés-Orientales. Be careful.  Fresh fish should not smell too ‘fishy’.

Loup or Bar = Sea Bass

A coastal fish much prized by line fishermen. Firm-fleshed, not too many bones, it can be grilled, barbecued or baked in a court bouillon or en papillote. Delicious cooked in white wine or served with fresh herb sauce. It is a very popular fish in Turkey so middle eastern recipes work well…

Daurade  = Gilt-head Bream

It has a splash of gold on each cheek and is consecrated to Aphrodite. Perhaps because of its beauty or maybe because of its hermaphroditic tendencies. Who knows? In any case it is considered to be one of the best of the local fish. It holds its shape well and can be cooked whole, filleted or stuffed. Particularly good baked in white wine with mushrooms.

Galets,  for which I could find no translation and which you can see in the water when snorkelling or paddling up to your knees, are bonier and less tasty than the Loup or Daurade. They are also cheaper and well worth trying fried, grilled or barbecued.

Rouget = red mullet

Much sought after, a jolly red fish that is usually cooked without cleaning. Just de-scale, drizzle some olive oil over it, a squeeze of lemon and fry, grill or bake in the oven. Do not steam or poach.

Espadon = swordfish

Steaks of swordfish are brilliant on the barbecue, can be grilled or baked or made into a stew. Versatile, firm, tasty, a useful alternative to fresh tuna.  (thon)

Some useful vocabulary

vider  – to gut (lit. to empty).
(court) bouillon – stock or broth
médaillon –  small, round pieces (of fish/meat)
(sans) arête: (without) bones.
en papillote – cooked in foil.
darne – fish steak/slice
décortiqué – shelled or peeled
écailler: to scale fish


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