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Mediterranean Diet - Five portions of fish?

(57 Posts)
AperolSpitz Tue 30-Aug-16 08:32:20

Am trying to move family to a Mediterranean diet after so many reports and latest reports over weekend have me sold.

How do you achieve five family fish meals a week? It seems so expensive in comparison to meat and vegetables. I tend to buy organic cheap cuts (eg lamb neck) and stretch them with chick peas etc. We have salmon once a week.

Any top tips for cheap family fish dishes much appreciated (or do I bite the bullet?) Three DCs, all under 7 - do fish fingers count?

Stanley38 Tue 30-Aug-16 10:59:25

Hi Aperol (your name has me craving an Aperol Spritz... surely not good for 11am on a Tuesday!)

Have you ever made kedgeree? I often use mackerel for this but traditionally it is smoked haddock. It is a good stretch out type of family meal as it has rice and boiled eggs in it.

We also have fish baked in foil parcels a lot. A small amount of fish stock or white wine/ butter/ parsley, sliced veg of your choice, seal it up and bake for 15 mins or so. I usually just get a few slices of whatever white fish is on deal at the fish counter.

Fish cakes are also a good one for stretching out due to the mash, and if I don't have enough fresh salmon then I will sometimes supplement with a tin of tuna.

Hope this helps :-)

AperolSpitz Tue 30-Aug-16 11:20:02

Thanks Stanley! Kedgeree is a great idea - never made before will definitely give it a go.

Fish cakes I need to get better at - they always end up really sloppy, maybe I need to refrigerate? One I can do with the kids too which will be nice.

Only one more week of hols and little helpers - sniff!

Amalfimamma Tue 30-Aug-16 13:15:25

I don't think fish fingers count as the actual fish in them is few and far betweem. Have you tried making fish fingers?

The cost of fish at home is extreme so maybe you could buy whatever is on special offer and freeze?

You can freeze fresh clams and mussels too if you find them, just put them for about an hour in really salty cold water, rinse well and freeze, when you go to use them no need to defrost, just cook from frozen.

I usually do a pasta with clams, fish stew/soup, fish fingers or fish cakes, in "acqua pazza" sauce (fish fillets, cherry tomatoes, a glass of water, a glass of white wine, a couple of cloves of garlic finely sliced into the oven let it cook slowly adding some water if it dries up, sprinkle on some parsley and serve) and a seafood salad per week. I also do fried calamari and king prawns twice a month, stuffed calamari, calamari and potato salad but it depends if you and DC like calamari or not.

I would suggest Iceland for frozen fish, buy when on offer and keep in freezer.

AperolSpitz Tue 30-Aug-16 14:37:56

Acqua pazza sounds great - I remember I read about it once but have never tried it- thanks. Will try the specials then freeze it tactic too. My friend's Italian mother buys special fish throughout the run up to Christmas and freezes for a stew so if good enough for her...

Also clams/calamari are great suggestions - eldest DC used to love fresh squid from fishmonger (it was next to his nursery, don't pass that way anymore :-( and stuffed would be fab to try.

Amalfimamma Tue 30-Aug-16 14:48:17


If you can get fresh calamari I'll start my Italian cooking thread with 3 recipes for you. Fried calamari, stuffed calamari e acqua pazza.

Can you find fresh sardines? Or fresh anchovies ?

AtleastitsnotMonday Tue 30-Aug-16 15:19:26

I would definitely be looking at frozen fish, I buy bags of frozen cod fillets and tuna steaks, all great.
I use the tuna steaks in a nicoise, with the additional protein in the eggs means you don't need loads of the tuna.
A really quick dinner here is cod fillets (defrosted in fridge in the day) topped with natural yoghurt mixed with curry paste and baked in the oven.
Alternatively I'll top with bread crumbs, lemon and garlic.
Another favourite is blackened cod with a mango salsa, this is fab in the summer.
Also been doing lots of sweet chilli prawns on skewers on the BBQ of late.
I like to keep things fairly simple, I know crab can be quite expensive but you don't need much in a simple pasta dish with linguine, cherry tomatoes and garlic.
I must say, I didn't know the med type diets required fish 5x a week, I may be tempted to sub a night or two with veg based dishes to keep costs down.

Amalfimamma Tue 30-Aug-16 15:24:52

At least 4 portions per week are recommended. I tend to eat more fish than meat just because it's cheaper, fresher and easier to come by. It's easier to get the.portions if you follow the typical pasta and main dish concept because if you had say pasta and clams and then grilled fish as a main that's 2 portions there in one meal

EssentialHummus Tue 30-Aug-16 15:30:44

I'm another one who's trying to cut down on meat /replace with fish.

Fish pie is an obvious one (though not very Mediterranean).

I made one today that I liked - Sainsbury's basics frozen white fish, cooked in oven with light dusting of paprika and olive oil. Served with cannelloni beans cooked on the stove with spinach and a small amount of chorizo.

Ineedmorelemonpledge Tue 30-Aug-16 15:33:07

My partner buys the frozen mixed seafood (prawns, squid, cockles etc) and uses to make a very simple Portuguese dish with rice called Arroz de Marisco. Which could be one nice option?

AperolSpitz Tue 30-Aug-16 16:56:31

Thanks v much Amalfimama I can get fresh sardines but not anchovies often (but prefer latter).

All other recipes sounding good - will try frozen fillets again. I've found them a bit "woolly" before but sure better for us than processed fingers and maybe I overcooked.

I read 5 fish, 3 meat and the rest veg based as guidance. MIL's Daily Telegraph, make of that what you will.

Amalfimamma Tue 30-Aug-16 16:58:56


Started you off with acqua pazza as I can remember it off the top of my head. When DC go to bed will get the DHs grandmothers cookbook out for you though

OhtoblazeswithElvira Tue 30-Aug-16 17:14:02

Have you got a fishmongers nearby? We go once a week and buy whatever is cheap - so it changes every week. Usually it's mackerel, mussels or some sort of local white fish. It can be ridiculously cheap. If I feel extravagant I'll get scallops, prawns or clams - they still work out better value than most meat-based dishes. Things like salmon, tuna or hake I find prohibitively expensive. I can't remember the last time I bought fresh tuna.

For oily fish we have tinned sardines, pilchards or pickled herrings (the children are crazy about them hmm).

It is so much easier to eat a fish-based diet in southern Europe - people eat fish very often and so their fishmongers are stocked with a huge variety of beautifully fresh fish envy. I live in the UK coast and apparently most of the local catch goes straight to Spain <sigh>.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Tue 30-Aug-16 17:21:07

Sorry OP forgot you asked for specific dishes. We normally pan grill or shallow fry everything with a bit of olive oil, garlic and bayleaf or parsley. That way the flavour of the fish comes through better IMO. This is a simple arrangement which leaves you free reign to vary things with your veg and carbs.

That said I hate the more traditional white fish like cod or haddock - so if we DP buy them, I eat them with a Spanish sauce called romesco which goes very well with greatly improves any white fish.

I also love Nigella's prawn and sweetcorn fritters. Yum smile

Heirhelp Tue 30-Aug-16 18:10:09

OP and others can I ask what you eat for breakfast on a med diet?

Amalfimamma Tue 30-Aug-16 18:18:58

Blueberry muffins/pancakes
Veggie omelette
Yoghurt and fresh fruit
Lemon cake
Egg and toast

43percentburnt Tue 30-Aug-16 18:19:52

Iceland fish is really good, I was a bit dubious initially. Plus delivery is free over £35 so you could buy quite a bit in one go and have delivered. Tuna from Aldi is nice - quite small pieces but cooks nicely. We eat quite a lot of fish. Sainsburys basic white fish is good too. Morrisons sometimes sells a whole salmon for about £14. We buy, chop and freeze - it's great (may buy 2 next time).

JasperDamerel Tue 30-Aug-16 18:20:02

I get lots of my fish intake from tinned sardines. Either in a sauce with pasta, or in pitta bread with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and olives.

I also eat a lot of chraimi/Moroccan fish stew. If you google you will find lots of recipes.

So to make 5 servings a week, you just to need have, say, smoked mackerel pate for lunch once or twice, sardines with salad or pitta bread once or twice and then have fish stew/pie and a fish based pasta dish once each.

SofiaAmes Tue 30-Aug-16 18:22:56

I will sometimes just take canned tuna and dress it with olive oil and rosemary and put it in the microwave to heat it up to warm (not hot). I then serve it with a starch of some sort and vegetables. Kids LOVE it. And then you can have the leftovers in sandwiches or just straight up, for lunch the next day.

SofiaAmes Tue 30-Aug-16 18:25:14

Just to add, I have an italian mother so was brought up on a mediterranean diet and have always cooked a mediterranean diet for my kids. Do you have any fresh fish stores near you. Salmon skin is super easy to cook, totally cheap (at least here in California) and is awesome with salad and really good for you.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Tue 30-Aug-16 18:26:48

On a Mediterranean diet I would have bread with olive oil and / or a ripe tomato rubbed on
Parma ham, small amounts of dried sausage or even pancetta
Fried egg with fried green peppers or a fried chorizo
Quince jelly, cured cheese
Coffee or milk, or even a small glass of wine for elevenses.

Personally I prefer a fry up or Weetabix and toast with jam smile

However while on holiday I have seen people in southern Europe not have breakfast or just have milk / coffee with a sweet pastry.

43percentburnt Tue 30-Aug-16 18:31:09

Jasper - yes tinned sardines and tinned mackerel. Good with salad or even on crusty bread or toast. Roll mop herring is tasty with a big salad, olives, cous cous. Smoked salmon salad is good too.

Flisspaps Tue 30-Aug-16 18:34:02

No specific recipes but just wanted to add a big thumbs up for frozen fish - on one of those crappy BBC1 food shows with Gregg and Cherry the other week they did a piece on fish, frozen is often actually 'fresher' than fresh fish by the time you get it as it is frozen close to being caught whereas fresh fish isn't necessarily fresh that day (or the day before)

Bit like frozen veg generally losing fewer nutrients than fresh smile

AperolSpitz Tue 30-Aug-16 19:19:20

Interesting re frozen fish. We do have fishmongers nearby - just more effort. Also some specials online shopping I now realise.

I am currently having tomato rubbed on toast with a little olive oil on top for breakfast which is amazing - but am sure will get bored.

My Greek friends all eat boiled eggs for breakfast - will try that next.

Amalfimamma Tue 30-Aug-16 19:39:31

For those interested started ann italian fish recipe thread will fill it up later when DC are in bed with DHs grandma's recipes

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