Dab is like sole and plaice: a flat fish. It tastes like them too with soft, sweet, milky flesh. The difference? The price!
I love Dover sole and lemon sole, but my goodness, those are expensive fish. Dab, meanwhile, comes in at around a third of the price. The picture below shows a cleaned, whole fish for just 72p. So although I don’t like paying full price for anything, I couldn’t resist it when I was in Morrisons last week.
To give you an idea of the cost difference: at the time of writing, lemon sole is £11.49 per kg in Morrisons. Dab is £3.95 per kg (actually, that’s lower than it was at the weekend). What a bargain!
I had never eaten dab before, so I was keen to try it out.
Flat fish are perfect for people who like good food, but who have little time to prepare the tasty meals of their dreams. Just a few minutes under the grill, and Bob’s your uncle. The fish cook through and you don’t even have to turn them.
At home I placed the dab on a lightly-oiled grill tray, light side down, and made a version of this recipe. I scored the dark skin, seasoned the fish, then grilled on a medium heat for a few minutes. You can tell when the fish is done because the dark skin begins to crack and blister. I served it with a quick garlic butter sauce: sliced garlic and butter, melted in a pan until the butter began to turn brown, with a squeeze of lemon added at the last minute.
It was delicious, and a great find. If you are thinking of hunting some dab down in the supermarket, you should be aware that it is smaller than other flat fish. One dab serves one person. Also, I don’t know how widely available it it. I spotted it in Morrisons, but I haven’t seen it there before. I think Morrisons may be having a push on dab though: I do hope so, because I’ll certainly be going back for more.
Apparently, a lot of dab gets caught but most of the fish are thrown back into the sea, already dead. What a waste. And how silly, when so many other fish are endangered and dab tastes so nice.
If you are looking for a fancier dab recipe than the one I have listed above, you will find the best collection here: Dab Recipes.
I’m a convert. Any other dab fans in the house?