My first stop on my journey to follow MSC Certified Haddock was Peterhead, the home of Europe’s largest fishing port. I arrived just in time to jump aboard the deck of the Ocean Venture trawler, which had just arrived in into the port fresh from a ten-day fishing voyage. I was in total admiration of the skipper, John Buchan, and his crew, who often work round the clock in treacherous conditions, and only get one day off before going back out to sea for another gruelling ten days.
Peterhead Fish Market (www.peterheadport.co.uk/fish_market.htm) is where the Ocean Venture’s catch, including MSC certified haddock, is sold.
There I met up with Danny Couper, who buys the fish and takes it to his processing plant in Aberdeen, where it is skinned and filleted – ready to be sold to restaurants, fish and chip shops, and retailers. I was pleased to discover from Danny that MSC Certified haddock is in demand, and the market is growing fast.
I discovered this huge demand when I visited Calum Richardson’s Fish and Chip Shop (www.thebayfishandchips.co.uk) in Stonehaven, where the dish was so popular customers were queuing out of the door. Calum explained that these days, customers were concerned about tracing their fish to a sustainable source, and that’s why it was so important for Calum to be the first supplier of MSC certified haddock in a UK fish and chip shop. Unlike much of the country where cod is usually served, the choice of battered fish up north is battered haddock – and I must say Calum’s fish and chips were absolutely first class.
With our fresh haddock I cooked a really simple dish, haddock, as fresh as can be, in a bar-b-q bag with a little red pesto, fresh basil, lemon juice and pepper. Gently steamed in its own juices over a few charcoals, for about 10 minutes, then eaten straight out of the bag with a little rocket salad, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
A great part of making this series is getting to visit new places, and stay in great hotels and B&B’s. In Stonehaven, I was made to feel very much at home at Beach Gate House (www.beachgate.co.uk) with a fab best breakfast, using duck eggs. And in Peterhead, the Buchan Braes Hotel (www.buchanbraes.co.uk) was a welcome place to warm up after a cold day’s filming.
And I’d like to thank those people behind the scenes who helped with the making of the film. A huge thanks go to Visit Scotland (www.visitscotland.com), Nicki Holmyard at Seafood Scotland (www.seafoodscotland.org), Gaynr Dickson at Seafish (www.seafish.org ), and James Simpson at MSC (www.msc.org).
For more information about Marine Stewardship Council Certified fish, visit www.msc.org