Five flavoursome but under-utilised cuts from Borough’s fishmongers
A scallop’s roe, found draped around the meat of the main muscle, consists of its sex organs. In the plural. Most scallops are hermaphrodites—the bright orange part of the roe is the female part of its reproductive system, the white part the male. It tastes much better than it sounds. Mild, sweet and creamy, the roe (also known as coral) adds not only delicate flavour but a soft, pleasingly contrasting texture.
A real delicacy, with a market value to match. For good reason, though. The liver is packed with fat, making it rich, buttery and delicious. Monkfish often turns up at market stalls with the liver having already been removed and enjoyed (‘fisherman’s reward’, as it’s known), so snap it up whenever you can. Cook it quickly in a hot pan, and serve with something sweet or acidic.
Often found with the head and some flesh still attached, fish skeletons—known as frames—are a major source of waste, often discarded by the bucketful. But throwing them out means missing out on a real culinary boon, as they’re excellent for making flavoursome stocks and soups. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, deep fry the frames until crispy and golden, then eat carefully with a sprinkling of salt.
Banish any uncouth thoughts from that brain of yours: ‘knobs’ are the cheeks of the fish. Cod and monkfish cheeks are always well worth buying, but the knobs of skate and other rays are particularly delicious. Much like the ‘oysters’ on a chicken, these are small but extremely succulent little discs of meat. Simply fry them in olive oil, or else coat them in either seasoned flour or breadcrumbs, then deep fry.
Another tasty but often-missed morsel, usually discarded along with the head—except in north Norway, where it’s a delicacy. There, cutting out the cod’s tongue—a succulent bit of flesh attached to the back of the fish’s throat— is a task for (presumably pretty hardy) children. It is then floured, seasoned and sauteed in butter until crisp, ready to be served with a sprinkling of sea salt and a dash of lemon.