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Doctors and dietitians place a great emphasis on the importance of a diet with lean protein or proteins with good fats like oily fish.  However, fresh seafood as we all know, is expensive. It’s particularly baffling when you live at the coast, Cape Town and Durban for example and it costs more to buy a piece of fish than it does chicken.

There are other issues too, the ever depleting marine life and the need for us to become responsible consumers. When I discussed this with London Chef Henry Vigar, owner of the popular La Mouette Restaurant in Sea Point for a piece I was researching on Food Trends 2012, he agreed:

 “Finding ingredients in South Africa can be a real battle. Especially fish with the depleting fish stocks in the ocean and massive export market.“

It’s a sad truth, but what can we do?

Respected editor Abigail Donnelly advises

“Sassi has made the choice of seafood awareness for the consumer accessible but it is still a niche premium foodie that understands. My advice is always eat and shop green and maybe orange depending on how it is caught and if from a responsible retailer.”

The informed consumer needs to get to grips with not only the lists but the method of catch too. It’s really important that we ask questions.

Julie Carter of Ocean Jewels Fresh Fish, had a bit to share with me and this is her advice in brief:

“The red, green and orange list can be confusing as the method of catch and whether the fish is imported can determine which list a fish fits into. Consumers that are serious about making the right choice must become familiar with the list, the method of catch and whether the fish is local or imported.”

Angelfish is inexpensive, very ‘green’ and has the perfect delicate texture for pies and a pasta like this and allows the Champagne cream sauce to be the star. It’s a fish I buy whenever I can. Using smoked angelfish in this recipe is sublime- I’ve made it to rave reviews.

Now, please don’t break open a bottle of your treasured expensive bubbles for this- local sparkling wine is perfect, but a rule that’s worth following is, don’t use it in your cooking if you won’t drink it. Enjoy what you don’t use in the sauce with the meal.

An easy way to “treat” yourself and brighten up a weekday dinner. Enjoy!


250 g angelfish, deboned, skin on or off

250 ml heavily seasoned stock (vegetable, fish or chicken)

3 cloves garlic

3 bay leaves

1 T olive oil

1 small onion, diced finely

300 ml Champagne (sparkling wine/brut is just fine)

375 ml fresh cream

salt, to taste (lemon salt is great if you can get some)

4 T finely chopped or snipped chives

4 cups cooked long pasta, like tagliatelle


In a saucepan, add stock, one clove of garlic and a bay leaf and bring to the boil.

Lower to a simmer and add angelfish. Cook for 3-4 minutes until fish is cooked, depending on thickness of fillet. Set aside to cool in the poaching liquid.

Heat a small pot on medium on the stove, add olive oil and onion. Add remaining cloves that you chop finely and the remaining bay leaves. Cook until onion is soft and translucent.

Add the Champagne and 100 ml of the poaching liquid and cook on high heat until mixture boils.

Allow it to reduce by less than half.

Remove from heat and stir fresh cream in slowly. Add salt to taste and stir. It will thicken a little but remain a runny sauce.

Flake angelfish with a fork, remove bones if any and the skin carefully, if still attached. Remove bay leaves from sauce and add fish. Mix gently.

Check seasoning and add chopped chives.

Pour the fish in Champagne cream sauce over pasta and coat well.

Serve with a glass of the remaining bubbles.


Tuck in!

This post forms part of the series of recipes I am preparing for Woolworths, the food sponsor for MasterChef SA. It is a Food and the Fabulous Endorsed project and I will be remunerated for it

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