Chelidonichthys lucerna / Chelidonichthys cuculus

These strange looking fish are sometimes referred to as Sea Robins and are utterly delicious and really versatile. As a whole fish they can be roasted or popped on the barbecue, or if you prefer your fish filleted, simply pan-fry. The have a distinct flavour and lovely firm texture. There are several different types of gurnard landed around the South West. Red and Rock gurnards are usually smaller, around 4-800g each but the larger tub gurnard can be over 2kg each. If you've never tried them before, they're definitely one to add to your 'wish list'.

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Cooking tips

A few years ago, Sue attended Rick Stein's cookery school in Padstow and one of the dishes she prepared was a pan-fried gurnard with hot and sour sauce. It was stunning and the recipe for the sauce, with crispy deep fried shallots and garlic is below. It works well with any fish and is especially delicious with bass and bream.

Ingredients - 30 ml fish sauce / vegetable oil / salt and pepper / 1 shallot, thinly sliced / 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced / 2 chillies, thinly sliced with or without seeds / 25 g palm sugar
/ 1 tbsp tamarind pulp

Method - Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and stir fry shallots until crisp and golden. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll. Do the same with the garlic, then the chilli – be careful not to burn any of the ingredients. / Put the fish sauce into a small saucepan. Add the tamarind and the palm sugar. / Add 2-3 tbsp of water and bring to the boil, let it simmer until it has reduced to a thick sauce. / Add half the shallots, garlic and chilli and pour it over the fish. Scatter the remaining crispy shallot mix over the pan-fried fish fillets and enjoy


Allow 400-500g whole fish per person