Get to know your fishmonger, chat him/her up and become friends, they will tell you when the freshest fish arrives and what specials they have on that day or in a few days from now. They will tell you the best way to prepare and cook fish. Descale it and gut it for you and what you can substitute if that fish is not available on the day when you want it. They might even suggest something that is more delicious and easier to cook at home. A big plus, those lesser known fish are also less likely to be overfished and could be the more sustainable option!

If your local store doesn’t have a fishmonger, here’s a list of common fish and their substitutes.

Alternatives for cod:

Black Cod, Cod, Mahi Mahi, Red Snapper, Sea Bass, Stripped Bass, Whiting, Grouper, Haddock, Hake, Monkfish, Pollock.

Alternatives for Salmon:

Amberjack/Yellowtail, Arctic Char, Bluefish, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Ocean/Sea Trout, Steelhead Trout, Stripped Bass, Tilefish, Wahoo.

Alternatives for Tuna

Amberjack/Yellowtail, Salmon Steaks, Swordfish.

Alternatives for Flounder

Branzino, Bream, Catfish (fillets only), Dorade, Lake Trout, Mullet, Perch, Skate Wing, Snapper, Sole (fillets only), Trout, Turbot (fillets only).

So today I bought some fresh Red Snapper (but Grouper would work really well with this recipe, hence the title a tale of two fish), added some fingerling potatoes, shiitake mushrooms and spinach and we had dinner in under 30 minutes. Simple fresh, easy to obtain healthy ingredients that the whole family will benefit from and enjoy!

Pan Fried Red Snapper (or Grouper), Fingerling Potatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach

Serves 4


4x 6oz Red Snapper fillets.

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & Black pepper

3 cups Fingerling potatoes, washed, cut in half, cooked in the microwave for 8 minutes

2 cups Shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half

2 cups Spinach leaves, washed

1 lemon, cut into quarters


Pat dry the red snapper fillets, make 2 incisions through the skin with a sharp knife (this will prevent the fish curling up when cooking). Season each fillet with salt and pepper.


Place a large frying pan on the stove, over a medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, when the oil is hot carefully add the part cooked potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then add the shiitake mushrooms, stir and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes.

Take another large frying pan and place over a medium high heat. Add the remaining olive oil, when hot add the fish fillets, skin side down, allow to cook for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked all the way through.

Add the spinach to the potatoes and mushrooms, lightly season with salt and pepper, continue cooking until the spinach has wilted and the potatoes and mushrooms are cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes.

To serve, place equal amounts of potatoes, mushrooms and spinach onto four plates, top with a portion of fish and serve with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

Recipe: Chef Mark Allison