Plaice (Pleuronectes Platessa)
The plaice is probably the best-known flatfish in our Western European climate. One of its characteristics is the red spots on its brown/green top side, near the eyes. Its other side is white with some dark patches. The plaice grows its shape in a similar way to three other odd-sounding fish – the common dab, the turbot and the flounder.
Plaice are found in the Northeast Atlantic, from the White Sea to south Portugal, in the North Sea and also in the western Baltic Sea. The plaice lives on a mixture of sandy and clay seabeds at a depth of 200m near the coast and at a depth of 400m in the Mediterranean. It can reach a maximum length of 95cm, and a weight of 7kg and an age of about 50 years – but such large plaice don’t get caught very often. The average length is 25cm–40cm and weight is 2–3kg.
The plaice feeds off bristle worms, muscles with thin shells and beach fleas. Plaice lay eggs at temperatures of around 6 °C. Females lay between 50,000 and 520,000 eggs depending on their size.
The plaice is the most commonly caught flatfish in the northeast Atlantic and is one of the most popular fish for eating. Its lean meat is white and tender and it tastes best when it’s fried whole, eaten directly from the skin or steamed as a fillet on a bed of vegetables.
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