A visit to Chesil beach resulted in a good catch for the table last weekend.
Setting my sights high, I made plaice my target species and made the very long walk to a mark where these tasty flatfish move inshore to feed-up on mussel beds after spawning.
Baiting with squid-tipped ragworm, and fishing at long range, I was faced with the usual Chesil beach problem: dogfish. These ravenous scavengers often devour baits before target species get a look-in, and that was certainly proving to be the case. I ended up with eight doggies - not that I'm complaining because I think they're very good to eat once removed from their sandpaper skin - but it would have been nice to get a chance to present a bait to the flatties.
Eventually, my patience paid off, and I managed to pluck a plaice from the waves. Admiring these beautiful fish and their bright orange spots in the spring sunlight, it's easy to see why anglers devote so much time and effort in their pursuit. And they make fantastic eating, too.
That plaice turned out to be the only one of the session but it certainly made the journey worthwhile. Now I'm looking forward to going back for more.
Plaice doesn't need fancy recipes to taste good. In fact, you'll drown out the sweet, delicate flavours of their flaky white flesh if you add too many ingredients.
After gutting my plaice, all I did was melt a knob of butter in a large griddle pan and then gently fry each side for about five minutes until it began to turn crisp and brown.
Served with chips and salad on the same day as it was caught, it was absolutely delicious.
Next time, I'll explain how I turned those nuisance dogfish into a tasty meal...