“ Type: Fish „
Living by the seaside I've always eaten and loved fish - when I was a kid there would always be someone calling at the house with share of the catch that day.
I still enjoy fish and try to eat as much as possible, but things like price, availability, sustainability and simply just taste not being the way I remember it, I don't eat nearly as much as I used to or I should!
In another well-known supermarket I noticed River Cobbler for sale and I asked the guy what it was like - he said it had the taste and texture of trout and was a sustainable species. Now, before I go further, it does not have the taste and texture of trout - plus I did some research on the sustainability and I found this on http://www.goodfishguide.co.uk :
"Pangasius (the name of the species) farmed to GlobalGap certified production standards is a good choice to make for this farmed species. The GlobalGap certification addresses a number of issues of environmental concern, the auditing of which requires farm inspections and standard enforcement. There are a number of issues of environmental concern associated with production, these include: habitat alteration; disease outbreak and parasite transfer; nutrient and organic pollution; escapes; interactions with local wildlife and enforcement of regulations. Pangasius is a an omnivore and as such is not heavily reliant on marine proteins and oils to form part of its diet, however the fish used to produce the feed is currently not certified as being responsibly managed or sustainable."
There is loads more online if you want to do a little investigating. I tried to find out if Tesco's is GlobalGap certified but was unable to get that info.
It comes from Vietnam so there are "food miles" (the distance that food has travelled from production to consumption) to consider. As the name suggests it is a freshwater fish.
It is a white fleshed fish and is also available in a smoked variety.
For 265g (usually two large fillets) the pre-packed fish is £2.20 and has usually a 3 day shelf life. It is also freezable.
My fishy findings:
The price is excellent, but of course if the fish is yucky it's not worth it - but I'm glad to say it is quite yummy indeed! It doesn't have a fishy smell, and has a nice meaty texture and the taste is a bit like whiting - not a particularly strong taste. The smoked variety is tastier if you like your fish that way.
It cooks very easily - in the oven for about 15mins with a little tin foil to cover it, or 3 mins in the microwave between two plates.
I have tried some clever ways to cook it - like various herbed crusts, pesto topping or baked in ratatouille with some cheese on top, but my favourite way is really really easy and is yum - just put mixed smoked and unsmoked fillets in an oven proof dish, then make up a couple of the cheese variety Mugshots, add some cooked courgettes or broccoli, cover the fish then whack in the oven for 15mins to get an easy tasty fishy cheesy pasta bake type thing.
River Cobbler V other white fish:
It does not have same price as cod or haddock and is a good alternative to these and other white fish - plus I find that when I do splash out on either of these the flavour is not as good as what I either remember or expected.
Not as good as fresh caught fish - but for anyone shopping at their supermarket for tasty value fish this is a good choice.
I've not always liked fish, but because i'm trying to get healthier, I have a new found love for it as it contains so many good oils and proteins. A big lover of haddock, i was shocked to discover that it was now £4 for 2 fillets in my local tesco. As a student on a tight budget, i had a good look at the fish isle and discovered a similar looking fish called 'River Cobbler'. At £2 for 2 filletts, it was half the price of the haddock and looked similar in thickness and size.
I cooked it the same day, dipping it into a small amount of salt, frying in a teaspoon of oil and serving with a small salad. Although it's not quite as tasty, meaty or filling as my usual Haddock, it was great for the price and seemed value. River cobbler doesn't have your average fishy smell and smells quite honestly of not alot. The taste is slightly fishy and not much else. To be honest it's quite bland, which is why I tried Tesco's the smoked River Cobbler. Although slightly offputting with its bright yellow appearence, it did actually taste lovely, but it didn't have a fishy taste about it and tasted somewhat artificial. The texture is nice - easily chewable but not mushy, and there are no bones. A few weeks passed and I tried it again. This time, i cooked it in the slow cooker with onion, garlic, ginger, oil and chillies. It was lovely, with the fish soaking up every last drop of flavour. Although the flavour wasn't as strong as i'd of liked, it was still an enjoyable dish and extremely an extremely cheap meal.
I'd reccomend this to anyone who loves fish that doesn't taste too fishy, or anyone who's on a budget and can't buy there usual cod or haddock.
Tescos river cobler is a good alternative to cod or haddock. It is sold all over the country and is available with various free coatings. I really like this fish because it is sustainable and cheap - it is however a little less tasty t(han cod or haddock.
Fish prices vary according to weight but a reasonable sized piece will cost between £1 and £2 (around one third less than cod or haddock). I think this is really reasonable for the quality of the fish.
You can have the river cobbler either smoked or unsmoked. I prefer the smoked as the unsmoked is a little bland (although thats just my preference)
Tesco will also give you any spice topping for free which is well worth a try.
I have seen so many people buying this type of fish in Tesco which is great. It is really adaptable in terms of cooking - bake it, fry it, poach it. You can also freeze it and it'll defrost fine. My favourite way to cook it is with some sauteed potatoes and salad. Overall i love this new fish and will buy it over and over (obviously until something better comes along!)
I have recently rediscovered my love for fresh fish and have been spending a huge amount of money at my local market and at the fish counter in the supermarket. I always like to try something different so when I saw a fish I had never heard of before called Vietnamese River Cobbler I decided to buy a couple of fillets to sample.
I cooked one that same night, I kept it simple and poached the fillet in a little milk and squeezed lemon onto it before eating. It was OK, not great and certainly nothing so tasty as cod or haddock. I found it to be quite bland tasting and I eventually resorted to dipping it in seafood sauce to add a little interest to the fish.
It has a meaty texture which I believe would lend itself well to making some kind of fish kebab, but I think you would have to be careful what you added to the kebab as too strong flavours would kill the flavour of the fish but anything too delicate would make for quite a dull kebab. I would perhaps suggest thin wedges of shallots or chunky pieces of corn on the cob with a garlic butter dressing.
I had the smoked River Cobbler and the vibrant yellow of the fish definitely suggesting this would have more flavour. The smoking was very mild, although the colour was extremely bright, and I was quite disappointed at the lack of flavour of actual fish.
The next day, determined not to be beaten, I put a little more effort into the other fillet. I made a marinade of spring onions, ginger, sesame oil and sesame seeds and left the River Cobbler to sit in this for a few hours in the fridge. I then wrapped it in foil with the spring onions and sesame seeds and baked it for 20 minutes, basting with sesame oil twice throughout the cooking.
It was absolutely delicious, a real contrast to the bland and uninspired plain fillet of the previous day. The meatiness of the fish was still apparent although it now had a less firm texture and seemed easier to flake than before. The smokiness was still apparent but the fish itself had absorbed the various flavours that were in the marinade as it was cooking. There wasn't the strong flavour I would have liked, but it was still an extremely tasty and satisfying fish dish.
I cannot think of another fish to liken it to for those of you who haven't tried Vietnamese River Cobbler. The texture is quite similar to monkfish, but taste wise I can think of no comparison. This fish is the blandest I have ever eaten and it really needs to be included as an ingredient rather than focusing the meal on the fish as you would with cod. Smothering it in sauce after cooking doesn't tend to improve the flavour very much, but it's like a sponge when it comes to soaking up flavours.
In my meal I could finely detect the subtle flavours of the marinade ingredients, and they brought out a more pleasing flavour in the actual fish. I had mine with home made potato wedges and peas, but this fish would go equally well with a green salad or used in a stir fry with Chinese vegetables.
I cannot remember how much I paid for it, but that's hardly relevant as Tesco seem to price their fish depending on their mood that day. I remember it was quite a lot cheaper than the smoked cod fillets I had my eye on, but not in the bargain basement of the fish counter either.
I would certainly recommend Vietnamese River Cobbler to anyone who doesn't mind spending some time and effort preparing the fish, but if you are after something quick and satisfying then I would go for a plain old piece of cod or smoked haddock any day.
Fish makes you brainy! Well that's what my Mum told me when I was little, to encourage me to eat my dinner. I believe that a healthy diet is so important and it was whilst discussing fish with a friend I first heard about Vietnamese River Cobbler, which was on sale at the local Tesco, so the next time I was shopping I bought two fillets for our dinner. It looked nice and was a lot cheaper than Cod or Haddock.
The official name is Pangasius, a type of catfish and comes from the Mekong River Delta in - can you guess? Yes, that's right! Vietnam.
What does it look like?
White fish and reasonably thick fillets, like cod or haddock, but it didn't smell too strong which I liked, as I hate strong smelling fish!
How did I cook it?
I wrapped it in foil with a little olive oil and some lemon juice and seasoning and popped it in the oven at Reg. 5 for about 20-25 minutes.
Another time I have dipped it in flour and griddled in a lightly oil pan - that is delicious and gives it another flavour, and I have also steamed it, with a little sliced fresh ginger and served on boiled rice with a mixture of soy sauce and hot sesame oil poured over it. One day when they only had 2 fillets left and there were three of us for dinner I tried the Smoked Vietnamese River Cobbler and cooked the fish in the microwave and mixed in a white sauce and layered with lasagne and that was absolutely delicious.
How does it taste?
As I said it has a mild flavour, making it a good fish for fussy fish eaters, we've never had a bone fortunately although there is always a warning on the label, but the fish has a delicate flavour and will take on the flavours of stronger ingredients used in cooking.
The plain fillets are around £6.29 a kilo, with one fillet costing approx. £1.26, and the smoked fillets are a little more expensive at £6.99 a kilo and £1.40 a fillet. Compared to other fish it is still very reasonable even though it has travelled a long way, cod has been between £9 - £10 per kilo.
Where is it on sale?
I have only seen it at Tesco, and have to say it sells out quickly, so I'm not lucky every week when I'm in!
I have seen reports saying avoid this fish as it is poisonous and causes illness. I understand that it is farmed fish, I don't have a problem with that I eat farmed salmon and mussels, but reports say it is injected to make it grow , well so is a lot of meat, we don't know half of the things that happen with the food we eat. The river may be polluted where it is raised just as other products can be watered with solutions that may be poisonous, we'd never eat anything if we believed every story we were told.
The reports which I believe started in France are sensationlist and unreferenced, and until I am provided with hard facts I will continue to eat this lovely fish. I have never been ill after eating this fish. Although I do suffer with upset stomachs regularly due to having had a large section of bowel removed with cancer therefore I have to say I think this fish is safe to eat, or I would have been ill! No one else in my family has suffered either after eating this fish over several months.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, most definitely I do.
I found this article from the New Scientist
Eating fish at least once a week may keep you brainy in old age, new research suggests.
A study of about 4000 senior citizens of Chicago in the US showed that all of them lost some cognitive sharpness - such as memory and speed of thinking - as the years passed.
However, among those who ate fish once a week, the rate of cognitive decline was about 10% slower. And it was 13% slower among those who consumed at least two fish meals a week. The difference is the equivalent of being three to four years younger, say the researchers.
So it looks as if my Mum was right, and as I eat fish at least twice a week I'm hoping that report is true!
Retailer: Tesco / Type: Fish