Friday 27 January 2017

MEGRIM SOLE - (1) What's in a name?


MEGRIM also known in UK as Cornish Sole, Torbay Sole, Witch, Sail-Fluke, Fluke or Whiff 

Sadly Megrim rarely appears in our fishmongers in the UK although it is found in English waters, especially around Cornwall.  I have seen it occasionally in Morrison's and Tesco and is usually reasonably priced. Its praises have been sung by the likes of Rick Stein, so if it's cheap and sustainable why do we not see it more?

Although related to the Brill and Turbot (it is a sinistral fish), it cannot compare in taste or texture with these but, if cooked well, it can stand its own with Lemon Sole and most other flat fish and is a quarter of the price.

I read somewhere that Cornish fishermen used to throw them back as there was no market in the UK and now most catches are sold to the continent!

In Spain it is known as Gallo (which is a little confusing as John Dory is also known as Gallo in some areas, including Catalonia and Valencia, rather than its usual name Pez de San Pedro). If you find Gallo on the menu in restaurants it is likely to be John Dory and not Megrim,

Megrim is also known by regional/national names in Spain such as Lliseria, Palaia and Cappela. The French word for Megrim is Cardine.

There are plentiful supplies of Megrim in the eastern Atlantic off the coasts of France, Spain and Portugal and some of the catch I have seen in Spain came from France, but it is also found in the western Mediterranean, and is landed in Santa Pola - those pictured above were bought in Santa Pola in January 2016 and I recently bought a large one in Elche for less than 4€ a kilo.

I have posted a recipe for whole pan-fried Megrim

John Austin

Santa Pola, January 2017

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