dogfish on a shingle beach

Catch It and Cook It – Dogfish

I have a reputation with my fellow anglers for being somewhat prone to catching the lesser spotted dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, a member of the shark family.

This is not to be confused with its big brother the bull huss which is sold in our fish and chip shops as rock salmon, a clever marketing trick!

Regarded as a pest by some anglers, and an unwanted by-catch by commercial fisherman, it seems to turn up on my hooks on a far too regular basis.

No matter where or when I fish in the UK, boat, beach, pier, summer, winter, up they come, especially after dark.

Yours truly with the inevitable dogfish

Dogfish need skinning prior to cooking, which is easier said than done, involving a very sharp knife and a pair of pliers. Alternatively cutting the fish into sections after removing the head, fins and innards, and then blanching them for a while in a pan of simmering water, allows the skin to be peeled away easily.

Like most species of the shark family, the flesh can have a slight smell of ammonia which can be eliminated by either freezing the raw skinned sections or blanching as above.

Skinned and prepared dogfish

Most recipes for fish in the UK concentrate on the popular varieties that are on our restaurant menus.

In my travels the only restaurants that have the lesser spotted dogfish on the menu have been in the Canary Islands. Tollos, sun-dried strips of dogfish, is traditionally prepared with a red mojo sauce and served with wrinkly potatoes.

Tollos con papas

Dogfish has a strong flavour unlike alot of the delicately flavoured white fish like cod or haddock. This makes it well suited to sauces which would overpower other fish varieties.

For those who may be interested and would like to try to catch some dogfish for themselves, I can recommend either Seabreeze3 or Grey Viking fishing charters, both based in Brighton.

Canarian Dogfish Stew
The classic Canarian tollos in sauce with potatoes
Check out this recipe
dogfish stew

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