I’ve seen some good looking fish in my time but today I saw something very special. Now you may roll your eyes if tell you it was cod “what’s special about that? everyone has seen a cod?”. And how true that is, everyone has seen a cod, especially me, however this is any old cod, this is a Norwegian delicacy cod, this is ‘Skrei’.
What first catches the eye about a Skrei cod is its colour. A very very dark top skin, glistening in the artificial light as the ice melts and runs down the flank.
Then the striking deep green of the body becomes apparent – just hypnotic. A prod and a poke and suspicions are confirmed; the flesh is as firm as when it left the sea on the end of a Norwegian fisherman’s line.
As the blocksman removes the fillets for a yield test of the first batch the beautiful large white flaked flesh was exposed. This was turning into fish porn!
So what is Skrei cod?
Well as you may have already gathered it’s a Norwegian line caught cod which is targeted only by small day boat fisheries. Due to the immense volume and the short term migration Skrei is there only for taking between January and March. For me the importance of this product is that it is one of the few Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) accredited species that arrive at market in exceptional condition and competitively priced. Condition is so important to the fisherman that only fish without skin blemishes can be packed and sent as Skrei (Unfortunately since the supermarkets have jumped on the ‘Brand mark’ bandwagon they have forced the price of many of our local sustainably caught species which then usually arrive to the counters in less than perfect condition). Additionally Skrei is supported by the World Wildlife Fund and remember when buying true Skrei will have the tag attached to the forward dorsal fin or the fillet should come with this reference.
There are a few articles on the internet explaining the Skrei phenomenon in more detail with this being probably the best
Skrei, the Norwegian miracle
Additionally if you can lay your hands on a copy of January’s edition of ‘Restaurant’ magazine there is a superb article on page 42.
I couldn't help but put a picture of my hair net on :-)