Meagre. You might not be too familiar with this fish, but once you get a hold of its succulent white fillets, you’ll be a convert for sure. It’s a large fish that’s similar in look and texture to wild sea bass, and like with the aforementioned bass, you get very little fat on these beauties.
Whether it’s a rich, buttery sauce laced with garlic and tarragon or the mild acidity of a tomato concasse that’s been fired up with fresh chilli, meagre can take it all. With this farmed fish being so easy on the wallet too, there’s no reason you can’t start over delivering on portion size or even gaining some extra margin.
It’s a big responsibility working in the preparation of people’s food and we can seriously help steer the national choice when it comes to seafood. We all need to be eating a much broader range of fish. But from fish and chip shops to swanky fine dining restaurants, when alternative fish species are on offer, they sell. However, there is one grey area here, and that is the comparison.
When faced with a menu that offers two white fish dishes, such as cod and then an unfamiliar species, you put the diner in a position of ignorance. No one wants to admit they don't know what something is and most would sooner take the unsustainable option over a fish they don’t know and understand. The way for conscientious, hard-working chefs to tackle this is two-fold.
Firstly, embrace the blackboard. Anywhere you have the chance to explain exactly what certain ingredients are and what to expect from them, you’re going to get a sale. You can even go further as to explain why you, as a chef, have chosen a particular species of fish.
Secondly, don’t give the diner an alternative. If your customer has the option of haddock or whiting, then haddock is going to win out. Instead go for contrasting fish on the menu. Perhaps an oily fish like salmon, then make the white fish option something unfamiliar and alternative.
You’ll all be well versed in how simple prix-fixe menus are one of the most successful evening menu choices being put in place these days. It’s a mark of authority that says, ‘we only cook this short menu of food, because it’s the best’. So this is another great tactic to encourage diners to be brave and try something a little different.
However you choose to prepare meagre, make sure you buy it fresh and from a responsible source. Our farmed whole meagre is a fantastic alternative to wild sea bass and comes in at a much lower price point per kilo. For competitive seasonal menus, this one’s got your name all over it.