Feast: eel, zander, bass… these Mediterranean fish as local alternatives to smoked salmon

While smoked fish is often on the menu during end-of-year holiday meals, Mathieu Chapel, a fisherman from Grau-du-Roi, offers local alternatives to the invariable smoked salmon and trout.

Promote short circuits and local fishing. This is the challenge that Mathieu Chapel, co-founder of Côté Fish, is trying to respond to. After initial successful trials last year, he markets his own smoked fish for the holidays.

While smoked salmon, and to a lesser extent trout, is one of the staples of Christmas meals, Graulen surprises with the smoking of fish it catches in the Mediterranean.

Discover new fish

“It is possible to smoke any fish, he explains. The idea is to crack the codes and at the same time promote our wild species and our sustainable fishing. We want to abolish the race for volume in order to fish better and preserve the resource for new generations.”

Four smoked fish are offered this year by Côté Fish. The eel, the pond fish, the zander, which lives in brackish water, but also the bar and the mullet, caught in the open sea.

Mathieu Chapel is a Graulen fisherman.
The fishing side

“We want to introduce these fish differently, says Mathieu Chapel. For the mullet, it was an unknown fish that fishermen didn’t even give their cats for years. Today it is served in many restaurants.”

Caught in Grau-du-Roi, the fish is then “boned by hand, salted with Aigues-Mortes salt and cold-smoked with chestnut sawdust from the Cévennes.”

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Côté Fish then offers 100 gram platters consisting of slices of eel, pike perch, bass and walleye for 10 euros. “It represents a portion for two to three people for an aperitif”, says the fisherman. “The price is affordable. The smoking is easy to better appreciate the taste of the fish. And for the customer, it’s a way to support short circuits and local know-how.”

Salmon or trout, how do you choose?

Almost 10%. This is the inflation recorded over a year for smoked salmon by the specialist institute Nielsen IQ.

If we take into account the price per kilo, those of the best smoked salmon, selected by 60 million consumers, exceed 50 euros. For packages of 120 grams and four slices, count between 6 and 8.50 euros for the majority of products marketed in supermarkets.

The cheapest trout

And it’s only farmed fish, sometimes thawed. For wild fish, the note can be even more salty.

Therefore, trout can be an alternative with an interesting relationship between price and quality. It is on average 30% cheaper, it is less fatty and competes in taste with smoked salmon in the middle class.

In terms of provenance, 60 million consumers note that trout are generally farmed in lakes and rivers in France and Spain.

Farmed salmon comes from the Atlantic Ocean, while wild salmon is caught in the Pacific Ocean.

Fish from Côté Fish is sold in the Grau-du-Roi fisherman’s stall and also on the company’s website: cotefish.fr

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