Abel & Cole's catch of the month

Abel & Cole’s fish and seafood buyer Abigail Allen spotlights hake, a sustainable alternative to cod in their catch of the month and shares her experience using the Good Fish Guide to source more seasonal and sustainable seafood.

Author: Abigail Allen, Fish and Seafood buyer at Abel & Cole

I’m a relative newcomer to the world of fish, having been the Fish and Seafood Buyer at Abel & Cole for a little over a year. Abel & Cole is an online organic food delivery company – we sell all kinds of wonderful food that is either organic, foraged or wild – working with mainly small scale growers, makers and bakers who are as dedicated to making the best as we are to eating it!

Abigail Allen Abigail Allen

Provenance is at the heart of what we do and a reason why many of our customers shop with us. When I was asked to take on our fish offering, I knew only a little about fish and, now, although I am definitely not an expert I have learned a huge amount and found myself in a world full of passionate, engaging, thoughtful and creative people. A piece of advice that someone gave me very early on was that, with seafood, everyone has a different opinion on the right way forward, so stay open-minded and carve your own way.

One aim I was quite clear on, however, was that I wanted Abel & Cole to align more closely with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and I am delighted that we are now officially corporate members. Using their guidance we are looking at sourcing a much more sustainable and seasonal selection and helping our customers make responsible seafood choices. We are also excited about being part of MCS’ important campaign work and helping spread their message to our customers who I know will be interested and motivated to find out more.

Working with MCS, we wanted to highlight a seasonal fish every month and provide customers with helpful tips and recipes on how to cook it. Many seafood consumers tend to stick to just a few species of fish – such as cod and haddock – fish that they are familiar with. We do sell these too (from sustainable stocks, of course) but we wanted to encourage and inspire customers to try something new, support seasonal fishing and avoid fish that are spawning. ‘Catch of the Month’ launched very recently and our first fish to focus on is Hake.

Hake dish

Our Hake is sourced via the Celtic Coast Fish Company and has a 1 or 2 Good Fish Guide rating. With a mild flavour and firm texture it is incredibly versatile and takes on flavours really well so can be used with a whole host of spices and herbs. Hake is very popular in Spain so we recommend creating your own Spanish style dish – Hake with Smoky Paprika Potatoes.

Hake is a great sustainable alternative to cod and is green rated on the Good Fish Guide. It’s closely related to cod but separated by its long slender body. The European hake is found in waters close to home and is more abundant than cod at the moment.

Next we’ll feature a summer seaside favourite – Cornish Handpicked Fifty Fifty Crab – a mix of brown and white crab meat from crab connoisseurs.