Clear, iced blue waters, pure skies and a startlingly wild landscape. There’s no doubt that the Scottish isles are a destination for those of us who want to forget the city grind for a while, lace up our hiking boots and get back to nature. But another thing that the region has in spades? Beautiful seafood.
Sure, from flushed pink smoked salmon spiked with citrus-sharp lemon, to a bowl of garlic butter mussels complete with skinny fries and shell-on prawns in a sizzling pot, under the sea eats are easy to associate with sunny climes and beach holiday vibes. But some of the finest, most delicious fish and shellfish don’t come from tropical azure oceans – but right here in the UK.
And, with the NHS telling us that most of us need to up our seafood intake, a growing focus on keeping our eats eco (hello, fried crickets) and a shift towards understanding why sustainability is important (seven in 10 of us say that we want to buy eco-happy fish, while two thirds say that buying British produce is important), the time is now to get involved.
Here’s why you need to celebrate Scottish seafood the next time you cook.
It’s packed with eco-credentials
Buy local, keep it eco. Lidl’s mussels are grown on the serene Isle of Mull by Douglas, who’s been working in the farming world for 30 years. By keeping it close to home, there’s less environmental impact versus shipping them halfway across the world, and they’re also fully MSC certified. This means that they come stamped with a seal of approval from the Marine Stewardship Council, and so adhere to strict sustainability guidelines. Essentially, they’re caught and farmed in a way that ensures that the eco-systems they grow and live in continue to thrive. So when you buy a pack, you’re not just doing good for your family. You’re doing good for the oceans, too.
Responsible farming practices are paramount
Scotland’s clear seas are one of the best places for transparent farming – literally. MSC-certified Scottish seafood works in harmony with nature, to make sure that we preserve livestock for future generations. Lidl’s rope-grown mussels are farmed by leaving ropes in the water for two to three years, at which point the inky blue shells are ready to harvest. No extra feed is added to the water, and the mussels are left to do their own thing.
It’s utterly delicious
Research shows that most of us rotate the same selection of an average nine meals when cooking at home. It makes sense – we’re all time-pressed, so sticking to what we know saves precious minutes. But the feeling of switching it up is always good – variety and the spice of life and all that. We love blitzing Scottish salmon fillets with golden breadcrumbs, lemon and chilli to make fish cakes, that you can then serve with smashed avocado and coriander, or frying prawns with Thai red curry paste, covering them in coconut milk and serving up with brown rice. Then you can always try adding a glug of white wine to steam a pot of mussels with chopped shallots, before finishing with double cream and parsley – not forgetting a warmed baguette, natch. And, if you’re pressed for time, Lidl stock mussels prepared in either garlic butter or a white wine sauce to save you kitchen time. Delicious, speedy meals made with a delectable star fishy ingredient. Winner winner seafood dinner.
It means that you’re supporting British produce
While we’re all riding high on British sporting success fervour, let’s also remember to look out for British produce. By buying ingredients that come from expert farmers/fishers, we support families who work to preserve our culinary heritage. That means we protect livelihoods and food for years to come. Can’t say much better than that.