In the last few years I've tried to get on with pollock, I really have.
But it never looks quite as white and shiny as cod. When I serve pollock fish fingers my littlest fresser complains about 'the grey bits'. Not even a tango-orange crumb is sufficient to entice her to eat them.
I've bought pollock as we've all been warned that cod could become extinct through over fishing, but good news came yesterday. The Marine Stewardship Council announced that North Sea cod, which had been considered under threat for more than ten years, has regenerated to a level at which they are happy to give it it's 'blue tick' label.
The blue tick indicates that this cod, when caught by English and Scottish boats is 'sustainable and fully traceable'.
Stocks of the white, meaty fish, which we've been eating in the UK since the ninth century peaked in the 1970's with levels of 270,000 tonnes in that area. Over-fishing brought numbers of the poor little scaley creatures fish down to just 40,000 in 2006. Scientists warned that the poor cod was in danger of vanishing from our plates. Forever.
Careful managment of fishing practices has helped raise numbers, but don't go noshing fish and chips every day just yet. The repleted stocks are not quite out of the danger zone. The WWF have warned the the stocks are still well below 1970's levels and that we need to continue the current policies which include careful management of fishing levels.
You also may need to hunt for North Sea cod. Ninety percent of cod consumed in the UK is imported, you're more likely to find MSC-certified North Sea cod from Iceland and from Norwegian and Russian boats fishing in the Barents Sea. (If you don't know of the Barents Sea — and i'll confess, I had to look it up — it's a slim bit of Atlantic Ocean between Norway and Russia.)
Cod is good for so much more than fish and chips so here are a few ideas to get you started:
Cod ceviche requires the freshest fish, so get yours from a fish monger.
Or turn it into something a bit more exotic, with this cod, ginger and coconut curry.