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Monday, November 11, 2013

Gurnard (AKA ‘Sea Robin, etc’)

Tub gurnard  © Peter Gander 2013

I bought a small shoal of these sustainable fish (well, half a dozen) at Whitstable fish market a few weeks back, for a fish curry. British chefs are said to remark ‘Ugly fish, tasty dish’. And true enough, my gurnard were very tasty. But I think they are rather lovely-looking too. Compared to the usual cod or pollack, gurnard look like the kind of exotic fish you’d find in Mauritius, not Margate, but apparently they are quite common around local Kent shores. The one shown is a tub gurnard, probably the most colourful, with its electric-blue edging to its huge pectoral fins (the others are ‘red’ and ‘grey’ gurnard). They are also known ‘Croaker’ as they emit a croaking noise when caught. Other names include ‘soldier’, elleck’ and ‘rotchet’, depending on where you live. They are also far more interesting because not only do they have armoured heads, but they also possess ‘legs’ (thus also called ‘feeler fish’) behind their front fins for walking with. And, as if all of the above isn’t impressive enough, they can poison you too with their gill plates and it’ll hurt for a few days. Respect to the gorgeous gurnard. Winsor & Newton watercolour on ‘The Langton’ Grain Fin 300gsm paper. Original: 20cm x 15cm. Buy the original here for £50 (UKSterling):

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