A Fish called Pierre

St. Pierre, St. Jacques, St. Julienne. It seems like there’s nothing so holy as a fish. One of the most intimidating parts of a menu in a French restaurant can be the fish menu which makes me wonder why more French lessons don’t begin with the fish course. Here’s some likely fish you might run across on your menu:
The easiest to translate is sole. In French it’s sole. But it’s also one of the most expensive fish you’ll encounter. Here are some less expensive choices you may have opted for – if you had known what they were:
Loup – can mean wolf, but when it’s on the fish menu, it’s sea perch.
Bar – sea bass
Cabillaud – codfish or fresh cod
Saumon – salmon
Fletan – halibut
Merou – grouper
Dorade – bream
Lotte – anglerfish
Aiglefin – haddock
Limande – lemon sole
Raie – ray fish (this is an excellent choice for those who can’t deal with bones. The ray fish is entirely cartilage which can be scraped away quite easily). Ray fish is oftened served with capers.
Rouget – red mullet
Carrelet – flounder
Espadon – swordfish
St. Pierre- John Dory (this is usually served as a filet and ranks a close second to sole when prepared well)
Thon – tuna
These are just a few translations to get you started. (I’ll add more in future entries). If you prefer seafood (fruit de mer), you’ll definitely want to try some
coquille St. Jacques or scallops which are tastiest in the winter months.
Fewer people order lobster and steamed clams in France. The lobster is quite expensive and different from the New England lobster.
Restaurants that serve seafood plates usually bring out a huge medley of crustaceans including oysters, (huitres) crab (crabe) shrimp (crevettes) and winkles (bigourneau). Another favorite seafood plate are mussels which are served in huge bowls. Unlike New Zealand mussels, these are primarily farmed mussels, smaller and lighter orange.