Plaice are principally the most commercial flatfish in Europe who live their lives on the sandy bottoms of the European shelf. They have been fished from the North Sea for hundreds of years. The term plaice comes from the 14th century Anglo-French plais. This in turn comes from the late Latin platessa, meaning flatfish, which originated from the Greek platys, meaning broad.
COOKING / EATING BENEFITS
Plaice are highly valued as a table fish. Along with cod and haddock they are the fish most commonly used in the classic British dish of fish and chips, and are a regular feature on the menus at restaurants and pubs. Plaice is a versatile fish to cook and can be grilled, baked or shallow fried. Once cooked the flesh is tender and white with a subtle, mild, sweet flavour.
Plaice stocks have suffered from their own success in some areas of Britain but appear to be holding up. It’s a good idea to check your plaice is coming from a sustainable source when buying or you might consider similar fish such as dab, flounder or lemon sole.
Plaice is a versatile fish and fairly easy to buy. It is available fresh or frozen and can be bought whole or as fillets. Plaice cooks very quickly – fillets should only need a total cooking time of 4-5 minutes, whether grilled, fried or poached. Use the poaching liquid to make a sauce, or coat fillets of plaice in egg and breadcrumbs and pan fry in butter and a little oil.