Thank Cod – Skrei is Back!
Seasonal Norwegian Skrei lands in retail and top restaurant menus – available February-April 2017
Caught straight from the cold, clear waters of Northern Norway, seasonal Skrei will be gracing us once again with its heavenly presence. Only available from February to April, avid foodies will be rushing to settle their Skrei-vings for three months only as the delicacy lands on top restaurant menus, fishmongers and fish counters across Whole Foods Market, Booths, Harrods and Selfridges.
Skrei (pronounced Skray) is a migratory cod from Norway, caught in its prime and in perfect condition after an arduous 1,000km swim from the Barents Sea to Northern Norway, and it is only available between January-April every year.
Skrei fishing in Norway has an extraordinary history with at least 1,000 years of recorded seafaring and fishing heritage dating all the way back to the age of the Vikings, that has helped shape Norway into the country it is today. Today this annual phenomenon is met with great celebration each year, as hundreds of millions of Norwegian cod migrate back to their spawning grounds yet only a small percentage of all landed cod will be branded with the prized dorsal fin Skrei branding, which acts as a quality assurance.
Thanks to its rather epic migration, Skrei is lean and rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. It also enjoys a firm flesh with obvious fat lines and chunky pearly white flakes that melt away effortlessly during cooking. The fish can be prepared in a variety of ways* and can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Since its introduction to the UK in 2012, Skrei has been swept up by our finest chefs, including Ambassador Michel Roux Jr, Simon Hulstone and Daniel Galmiche who have all served Skrei in season at their Michelin-starred restaurants. Even Monica Galetti, Ollie Dabbous and Robin Gill have ventured out of their kitchens to Norway to catch and eat Skrei right at its source.
Come February, more of our best chefs, including Glynn Purnell, Daniel Clifford and Sat Bains, will be travelling out to the island of Sommarøy to see, catch and cook Skrei before bringing their inspiration back to their restaurant tables for us all to enjoy in the first few months of the New Year.
There is no doubt that Skrei is simply white gold for any serious seasonal restaurant menu and The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) is excited to see UK retail is joining our finest chefs, by putting Skrei firmly on their sustainable and seasonal product listing for another year.
Whole Foods Market in particular will work with NSC to promote Skrei throughout the season with tastings and bespoke POS, in addition to offering customers the chance to dine at a Skrei supper club hosted by Michel Roux Jr at their flagship Kensington store on 28th February. Readers can sign up for the supper club by searching on Eventbrite.
Michelin-star chef Michel Roux Jr comments:
”As a chef, I am always looking for exceptional ingredients, Skrei cod is one of those that never lets me down. The texture, taste and assured quality is what makes Skrei one of the finest products to cook with.”
Due to the nature of the migratory cod, the arrival date of Skrei to the UK market is often tricky to predict, however The NSC expects the first Skrei to hit UK retail from February 2017. Regardless of its somewhat unpredictable arrival, without fail Skrei is always welcomed with great excitement by chefs, retailers and foodies eager to eat out or dine in with this delicious white gold.
Jack-Robert Moller, NSC UK Director Comments:
” The nature of this wild migratory cod of course means that we cannot predict the arrival date of Skrei to their original spawning grounds of Lofoten and Vesterålen. Weather conditions can also affect the catch of the quality product. This year, the arrival and subsequent catch of Skrei in Northern Norway has been a little later than usual. Despite this slow start, we are very much looking forward to another strong, high quality season and we expect the UK to have full access to Skrei from February until April 2017. It has been highly encouraging to see the demand for Skrei increasing since its introduction to the UK in 2012 – sales have tripled in this period. We have strong support from the premium retailers, not to mention the finest chefs, fishmongers and of course our distribution partners. This support has allowed Skrei to be a fantastic sales success across the UK and Europe and the total sales volume to Europe is expected to be 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes for 2017, depending on availability of the fish.”
*Top Skrei Cooking Tips From Ambassador Michel Roux Jr
To Pan fry Skrei: “Make sure the Skrei is dry and the pan very hot. Add a little vegetable oil to the pan and carefully place the seasoned fish in the pan. Once lightly seared, then add lots of butter and baste with frothy bubbling butter. To test if cooked use a skewer, it should go through the fish easily”
To Poach Skrei: “To poach Skrei perfectly, rule nº1 is to quickly bring the poaching liquid to the boil then turn down the heat to a very gentle simmer for the rest of the cooking duration, otherwise the fish will be tough and dry”