WHAT IS A PLAICE?
A popular fish and chips option in the Mediterranean , the name actually refers to 4 different types of flatfish. Plaice is a derivation of the Greek term platys a.k.a. “broad.” However when born they have a normal shape. They then gradually become flatter and flatter during the first few weeks of life. As the fish grows in size they migrate to colder waters. Both of its eyes are on top slightly to the right side. Their grey or brown skin (they can change color) acts as camouflage. This is perfect for the sea beds in which they hide during the day. At night it loves to feed on worms, sand eels, crustaceans, bi-valves and other easy prey. They can grow to over 3 feet (91 cm) in length and live for up to 50 years. Known for their distinct umami flavor, they pair well with lemon and sauces like tartar.
WHERE DO PLAICE COME FROM?
They are a northern hemisphere delicacy found in European and American waters. Their ability to survive water with low salt content means they can sometimes be found in brackish or almost fresh water locations.
WHEN ARE PLAICE IN SEASON?
They are a summer to early winter harvest. This is because because spawning season is January through April, The production of large quantities of roe also negatively impacts the quality and texture of the fish.
ARE PLAICE CONSIDERED A FOOD FOR THE POOR?
Historically plaice were and still are today a cheap fish. Even in Victorian times in England they “plentiful and cheap – up to 30 million plaice were sold each year at Billingsgate Market – and along with herring was a mainstay of the diet of London’s poorest residents.”
ARE PLAICE HEALTHY TO EAT?
This fish has one of the lowest mercury contents and is very safe to eat. Their long life-span however means that they reproduce at a slower rate then other species. This makes them particularly susceptible to over-fishing. As a result, like with the cod and monkfish, plaice are endangered.