Sustainable seafood recipes

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  • 2 x 500–600-g/1 lb 2-oz–1 lb 5-oz live MSC certified lobsters
  • 2 litres/3½ pints/8½ cups court bouillon, or enough to cover the lobsters, or salted water
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, trimmed, cut into rings and green parts removed
  • ½ fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 150 ml/5 fl oz/²/³ cup Cognac
  • 200 ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup white wine
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints/4¼ cups fish stock 
  • Bouquet garni (sprigs of flat-leaf parsley and thyme with 1 bay leaf, tied together with thin string)
  • ¼ tsp ground piment d’Espelette
  • 3 tbsp double (heavy) cream
  • Groundnut (peanut) oil
  • Salt and pepper

Court bouillon (makes about 4 litres / 7 pints / 8 ½ US pints)
  • 4 litres/7 pints/8½ US pints water
  • 250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed, green parts removed, and roughly chopped
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Salt

Fish stock (makes about 5 litres / 8¾  pints / 10½ US pints)
  • 4 kg/9 lb fish bones and heads from white fish (e.g. sole, halibut, plaice, turbot, cod, haddock, sea bass)
  • 25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp butter
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, green parts removed, and roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 100 ml/3½ fl oz/¹/³ cup white wine
  • About 5 litres/8¾ pints/10½ US pints water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  1. Put the lobsters in the freezer for 1 hour to render them unconscious. Remove from the freezer and leave for 15 minutes to come to room temperature. Bring the court bouillon or salted water to the boil in a large pan, add the lobsters and boil for 8 minutes. Drain and lightly rinse them under cold running water. Break off the tails and remove the meat. Crack the claws and dig out the meat with a lobster pick.  Set the meat aside. With a large knife, bash the shells
    of the lobster heads, short legs and body into rough pieces.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of groundnut (peanut) oil in a deep, heavy frying pan (skillet) over a high heat and fry the lobster shells for 5 minutes. Add the onion, leek and fennel and fry for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and tomato purée (paste) after 30 seconds and then sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with the Cognac, add the white wine and then pour in the stock. Add the bouquet garni and piment d’Espelette, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper, cover the pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat for 30–40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cut the lobster meat into rough chunks.
  4. Remove the bouquet garni from the pan and strain the bisque through a conical sieve (strainer). If you don’t have a conical sieve, use a potato masher to break up the lobster shells and then strain through an ordinary round sieve.
  5. Return the strained bisque to a clean saucepan and place over a high heat. Add the lobster meat and heat for 2 minutes. Lift out the meat, add the cream to the pan and stir over the heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Divide the lobster meat between serving plates and ladle the bisque over the top.

Court bouillon

  1. Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to medium and leave to simmer for 20–25 minutes.
  2. Strain the bouillon through a fine sieve. It is now ready for use.

Fish stock

  1. Rinse the fish bones and heads thoroughly under cold, running water to wash away any blood still sticking to them. Roughly chop the bones and heads.
  2. Add the butter to a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and when the butter has melted, add the onions, leeks, celery, carrots and parsley and cook, for 3–4 minutes until the vegetables have started to become translucent and have softened slightly.
  3. Add the fish bones and heads and fry for 2 minutes then pour in the wine and sufficient water to just cover the fish. Add the bay leaves and black peppercorns, turn up the heat. Bring the liquid to simmering point, around 90°C/195°F.
  4. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove any scum that forms on the surface.
  5. After 25 minutes, strain the liquid through a fine sieve or, even better, through a piece of muslin. The stock is now ready to use.
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