Lesley Waters' O-fish-ial Good Friday

On Good Friday, it's tradition to eat fish rather than meat and many of us having will have events and plans in place, so now is the time to get thinking about what dishes to make to celebrate this Easter weekend. More than half (52%) of Brits plan on cooking for their families and friends at home, celebrating but also save money because of the cost-of-living, our new research has found. Luckily, we’ve teamed up with Chef Lesley Waters to give her top tips to ensure everyone is well fed this Easter. 

Can you tell us why you chose to partner with Alaska Seafood?

 I think I grew up with canned salmon as a child, and it's something that I continue to give my family, so I feel quite passionate about it. And I feel that it's fabulous that wild Alaskan salmon is wild and it's sustainable. It's not farmed salmon. It's the real thing. 

Why do people tend to eat fish on Good Friday? 

I think it's a tradition, isn't it? And it goes back a long way. I mean, it's a Christian tradition that on Good Friday especially, and on Lent days, that no meat was eaten, it was always fish. And I think it's something that's continued. I mean, you go back to medieval times, so most people will eat fish once a week, but I think we should eat a lot more. 

What are your favourite fish dishes to cook and/eat? 

I must admit, I do love a pie. I love simple things. So I've developed this lovely potato and wild Alaska salmon tart, which is an open tart, so it's using fairly inexpensive things. And of course, buying wild Alaska canned salmon is a lot cheaper than buying fresh fish. Also, it's already cooked, so that takes the work out of it. This is a delicious potato and cheese tart with onions and garlic. When it comes out, you top it with the wild Alaska red salmon, which has been tossed with spring onions, watercress or rocket with a lovely orange and mustard dressing. You just sit it on the top and you take it to the table, and it looks beautiful. You're kind of crowning it with the salmon. 

You’re also a qualified Fitness Instructor so eating healthy is paramount, what would say are the nutritional benefits of fish in your diet? 

Oh, well, I think one of the most important things is the fact that it's lean protein, for one. And it's got its omega three and six fatty acids. Apparently it can help reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, good eye health. And it's got the calcium, it's got vitamin D and B's. You know, it's a great source of food. 

How did you hear about Alaska Seafood?

 Well, I've known about Alaska seafood for a long time, so when I was asked to do this, I was thrilled. And as I said, canned salmon is something that I've grown up with. I think there can be, especially with chefs, there can be a lot of snobbery about canned salmon. But when it's wild, it's natural and sustainable. You can't fault it, can you? And for me, it's about getting people to cook. 

Why do you think people care about where their food such as salmon comes from? 

Well, I think there's been an awful lot of publicity, hasn't there, over the years, especially about farmed salmon, and I think people really are trying to eat better and they want to know the information and they want to feel good about the food they're putting on their plate for their families. 

Is sustainability important to you when buying seafood?

 Yes, it is. And I know that you can buy wild Alaska red salmon in the supermarket. If you look out for brands like John West and Princes and many own brand labels, like M&S, they have it in there as well, which is great. But yes, absolutely. And I think it's quite interesting because British females tend to look at the price when they are buying 69%, which I was quite surprised about, actually. But I suppose with everything going on at the moment as it is. I think we need to get back to seasonal cooking. Not having strawberries, having them in the summer, having tomatoes when they're in season, all of that sort of thing, I think is great. But the brilliant thing about wild Alaska salmon is it’s in a can and it's in your cupboard and you can enjoy it anytime. 

Is frozen salmon as good as fresh salmon? 

Yeah, I do, actually. I mean, I think fish generally freezes quite well, and as long as you treat it well, I think frozen fish works really well. I use it and I think as long as you're packing it up properly and not keep it in the freezer for too long, you know, tops three months, I think it's as good as fresh. 

Are people buying more canned fish due to the cost-of-living? 

I think that there is a shift towards people buying less and filling their fridges with less, so it doesn't go off, and filling their store cupboards more with ingredients that aren't going to go off in a few days. And people use more things like lentils and things that will keep for a long time that they can sort of if they are eating meat, they don't have to use that much. They can make it and make a bigger meal using other things like lentils and pulses. So, they make their money go further. And the same with using canned beautiful wild Alaska red salmon is that it's a lot cheaper, and a lot more cost-effective than buying fresh fish. 

What are your top tips for a fish dish for Good Friday?

 I think make my potato tart. That's my top. Also, keep it simple, don't make it too complicated. I think sometimes we watch all these cookery programmes and some of them are very complicated, and then you end up working so hard that you're not enjoying it because you're a bit stressed out. Get everyone’s help. Family and friends coming over, get them to open the cans of Alaska red salmon, get them to lay the table, get them to open the wine, get everybody on board, and have a bit of fun. And it takes the stress.