Plaice (Latin: Pleuronectes platessa) is a flatfish and is an important and valuable edible fish.
Plaice are found in large numbers in the North-East Atlantic, although in principle they occur along almost all European coastlines.
They are distinctive for their very flat body, with the eyes on top. Plaice are true masters of disguise. They are able to camouflage themselves by changing the colour of the pigmented top side of their body to match the surface beneath them. Because of this, their patterning cannot always be seen. When in danger, they dig themselves into the sand in the blink of an eye, by quickly flapping their fins.
Plaice are predominantly nocturnal. They feed on small crabs, thin-shelled mussels and snails and will wander far in search of food.
Plaice can be cooked in many ways: fried, oven-baked, sautéed or grilled.
The classic method is to lightly coat the plaice with flour then fry with some bacon until crispy.
Alternatively, this flatfish also lends itself well to grilling or baking in the oven.
Plaice is also suitable for poaching. For a more sophisticated dish, the fillets can be stuffed and shaped into small rolls, then gently steamed or poached in a bain-marie.
Flavour and texture
The flesh of plaice is not very firm, but this makes it very tender and low in fat, so it is easy to digest.
Plaice has a strong taste.
Bottom trawl nets
A bottom trawl net is funnel-shaped with a bag at the end in which the fish are collected. On the bottom of the entrance to the net is a weighted footrope which is pulled over the ocean floor and agitates the fish.
In plaice fishing, only animals that are at least 25 centimetres in length can be caught. Therefore, the prescribed minimum mesh size of the nets is 10 centimetres. This allows smaller fish and crustaceans to escape.