I was sent a voucher to get £4 of fish from the tesco orchard, and decided to use it only on the fresh fish counter although I could have used it on any fish in the store, and see what the counter had to offer and just how fresh the produce was.

My idea initially was to find fish to use to create sushi with some sushi wrappers to make your own which you could purchase in store, however it was quickly established by the counter operative that the fish was not fresh enough for this purpose (and you could see that even though it was stored on ice obviously it was not freshly cut to order or of a suitably fresh standard) I then decided to see if they had some sashimi grade salmon, although usually served raw is ideal for lightly toasting, however having a number of varieties of salmon this was sadly lacking from the counter.

Instead I decided to them look what was on offer, along with the usual cod, haddock, several types of salmon I opted instead for the more unusual varieties, firstly trying some manta ray fin, and secondly taking a piece of rainbow trout, where there were two colours white and yellow and I opted for the yellow fleshed variety.

The manta ray fin was very large and essentially came with two portions per fin, although on bones the bones were very large and once cooked easily separated to serve a boneless and tasty white fish, not only was the fish very tasty it also had a very creamy texture while maintaining a familiar white fish cod like flavour. I think this would be a good option for battering and deep frying as not only would it taste a lot like cod but also the creamy texture would lead to a higher flavour retention against the oils coming in during the cooking process and make a very delicious fried fish option which may even be healthier as it would likely minimize the oils being absorbed.

The rainbow trout variety I chose surprised me quite a bit as it tasted like a high quality cooked salmon, which is usually hard to get to this standard even with a high quality cut. As a result this would be an option for anyone wishing to have the high quality salmon flavour with little effort and would also save a lot of money, sure you would have to deal with some bones and a softer flesh which breaks apart easier, but for the convenience and ease of cooking for the same flavour I believe this is a suitable compromise to make

Over all I think it is a little disappointing that the counter isn’t as fresh as it might put accross, had I not asked the counter operative I would have assumed that any fish purchased would have been suitably fresh to make sushi with and possibly risked food poisoning as a result, and the varieties on offer were average, but you can understand that most people would be seeking the “usual range” of cod and haddock and salmons that were displayed, as opposed to seeking something different or special, but there was the manta fin as a little excitement and something different so it also caters a little towards that. I just wish that there was the option to get a truly fresh product if requested, that the fishmonger could cut a fresh fish right then and there suitable for creating sushi with, or freshly cut upon request for those who want a freshly cut slice of fish, while leaving the display for those who wish it and don’t have the truly fresh requirements.

Other than the “fresh” issues the counter is a nice option and good to go to if you want some advice or to try something a little new, and perhaps may be fresher than the shelved produce. Either way you can have a free garlic or chilli butter to cook your fish with so there are bonuses to visiting, and if you like fish I think you should consider looking at the fresh counter first in case something catches your eye.