Local Cuisine

From the report of the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Food Economy “Agricultural Market – March 2018”. shows that in 2017 in Poland the average consumption of fish and seafood per capita was 12.48 kg, compared to 13.11 kg in the previous year. Among the main fish species, the consumption of salmon and cod was most limited, while the consumption of mackerel and hake increased significantly. Herring remains the most popular fish.

We focus on freshness

Last year, the consumption of marine fish among Poles fell by almost 8{a335201039c8add2e1e30cc0bba7c4951a50b304dba0ec6c901d7ba147c11328}, but the consumption of freshwater varieties increased – by 6.7{a335201039c8add2e1e30cc0bba7c4951a50b304dba0ec6c901d7ba147c11328}, i.e. to about 2.5 kg of raw material per person – according to an analysis by the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Food Management. In large fish industry plants, the production of smoked fish, including smoked salmon, was reduced by 16{a335201039c8add2e1e30cc0bba7c4951a50b304dba0ec6c901d7ba147c11328} (by 10.0{a335201039c8add2e1e30cc0bba7c4951a50b304dba0ec6c901d7ba147c11328}).

Fish

However, the production of frozen fish, frozen fish fillets and frozen fish meat did not change, but increased the production of fresh, chilled and salted fish fillets. As far as the production of highly processed products (preserves, marinades and delicatessen products) is concerned, the basic species traditionally used in the production were herrings.

– Herring is usually eaten during holidays, usually as an appetizer, for dinner, and for lunch we usually choose white fish or salmon. When it comes to fish format, we want to choose fresh fish. In our shops we buy mainly frozen fish and we should not be afraid of them. They are properly researched and processed, and at the moment the technologies are so advanced that they provide us with as many valuable nutritional values,” says Anna Dębicka from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an NGO.

Let’s choose certified fish

On the Polish market you can already find over 600 products marked with the blue MSC certificate of sustainable fishing. This is extremely important, because in the world nearly 90{a335201039c8add2e1e30cc0bba7c4951a50b304dba0ec6c901d7ba147c11328} of fish stocks are overfished, overexploited or threatened with overfishing. This is currently one of the biggest ecological challenges. The so-called traceability, which is one of the main principles of MSC certification standards, allows the monitoring of the supply chain, thus preventing the marketing of endangered products. It ensures that fish only come from legal, reliable and stable sources.

– The ASC green tag certificate guarantees that the fish farming is carried out in an environmentally responsible manner, maintaining the highest quality standards, while the MSC blue tag certificate guarantees that wild fish that are caught in the seas, oceans and freshwater lakes come from clean, well-managed fish populations. Here you cannot discriminate against any species, every species can be well and badly caught or bred, the best choice is to choose certified products – says Anna Dębicka.

320 fisheries from 35 countries of the world have an MSC certificate.

By choosing products with the blue MSC mark, we protect water and sea resources to a large extent. Sustainable fishing minimises by-catch, i.e. the uncontrolled and incidental capture of marine animals that are not the target of fishing, thus favouring not only wild fish populations, but also the protection of birds and marine mammals and other endangered species and habitats. More than 320 fisheries from 35 countries around the world are already MSC-certified and more than 80 are in the process of evaluation.

– The MSC does not criticise any product, but tries to change it. First we conduct research projects, teach how to fish, then we guarantee the entire supply chain to the consumer, so that the consumer will later choose a product that is caught sustainably,” says Anna Dębicka.

Currently, both certified and uncertified products are available on the market. In the largest stores in Poland there are already 600 different products with a blue stamp.

– We hope that soon more chains will join the group of responsible sellers. Even 5 years ago there were almost no such products at all, at the moment in Poland we have over 600 registered products. Thus, we estimate the market share of certified products in Poland at 6-7 per cent. It is growing very dynamically, over the last 1.5 years it has increased by over 100 per cent, so we hope that by choosing certified products, consumers will cause that sellers will sell them more and more – says Anna Dębicka.

When it comes to certification of fish products, in this case there is not as much price difference as in the case of organic products.

Redfish only with a certificate

– Fish products, especially when it comes to white fish or herring, these prices differ very little, we try to make sure that the costs of certification are not very burdensome for fish producers – says Anna Dębicka.

The blue MSC mark on the packaging is present on thousands of products in over a hundred countries.

 

Carp in 5 views

In most homes in Poland, carp is usually served traditionally in the form of gold- fried bells. It is a well-known and simple way to prepare a dish, which cannot be missing on the Christmas table.

But what if we could modify the common menu and reach for more creative and sophisticated proposals with carp in the lead role? With the upcoming holidays in mind, we have checked how it looks like in particular regions of Poland.

Silesian carp

Carp did not arrive in the Upper Silesia until the interwar period. It is most often served first fried and then cooked in a vegetable sauce and….gingerbread! But all this in turn. In order to prepare the “Sleepy caper” well – because this is how the fish could be called in the dialect, we will need a bunch of vegetables (carrots, parsley, celery, leek), a lot of onions, lemon and gingerbread or wholemeal bread. It will also be obligatory to buy beer – it can be both light and dark, as well as raisins or almonds. Let’s not forget about our hero, who is served in the form of bells. The whole work can be closed in three stages: boil vegetables with beer (and water), thicken with gingerbread and sweets and blend making a velvety, thick sauce with a hint of sweetness. Fry the fish (it can also be breaded or stewed in onion) and season. Finally, combine with the sauce and stew until you get a truly Silesian aroma!

Carp of the Highlander

Inhabitants of Polish mountains have a slightly different look at Christmas carp. Despite tasty, fried fish, they are sometimes tempted to serve it in a more exquisite way. Here the main guests will be sauerkraut, mushrooms and carp itself! This time stuffed with a delicious filling, the taste of which will be emphasized by the addition of caraway to the dish. So… fry the cabbage and mushrooms in butter with onion and then stuff the slightly seasoned fish with it. Place in a greased baking tray, bake and…. highland carp ready! To prevent the fish from being too dry, from time to time it can be poured with sauce, which under the influence of heat will be created by itself and wrapped around the carp.

Carp from Wrocław

As far as carp is concerned, Lower Silesia has something to boast about here. Milicz is one of the most famous and recommended places, in which the farming of these fish is carried out. Healthy and fresh carp most frequently find their way to Christmas tables of, amongst others, inhabitants of Wroc³aw. Popular here, as in other regions, well fried carp may be tasty, but why couldn’t it be better? Lower Silesia offers a healthier alternative: do not fry, do not bake, but cook! Nothing simpler, yet delights the palate. So let’s divide the carp into bells, salt and sprinkled with lemon juice. Add dark beer, gingerbread, onion and spices to the previously prepared broth. Let’s cook and drain. At the very end let’s throw in the fish and wait until it softens. True, it’s not difficult?

An alternative to ringtones, so don’t be afraid of experiments

Carp can be prepared in many different ways, each of which will surely turn out to be delicious and in a different way will emphasize the taste and aroma of the fish itself. Let’s also remember that during culinary struggles you can reach for tradition, but it’s also worth experimenting. – The most popular form of its serving is of course breaded carp, known and liked all over the country. Remember that during the frying process, fish loses its valuable nutritional value – advises Ewa Polińska, an expert at Moniecka Spółdzielnia Mleczarska – If you want to diversify the way it is prepared so far, you should serve carp baked with e.g. yellow cheese and mushrooms. Let’s also choose a type of cheese which is characterized by high meltability and will not lose its taste during thermal processing, e.g. Gouda MSM Mońki – adds Ewa Polińska.

Christmas is approaching in great steps, so it is time to take advantage of the acquired knowledge and…. slightly modify the recipe for this year’s carp, which will appear on the Christmas table. We particularly encourage you to try our original recipe for Christmas carp baked with yellow cheese and mushrooms!