Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It was a beautiful afternoon, and the seas were who could blame the boys for forgetting all their other plans when the opportunity came to go out in the boat fishing.

At first they did not seem to be having much luck. Then they had to stop for a while because Snoop had his hook caught on the bottom. As it happened, this was the very spot where the fish had decided to congregate, and they pulled up fish after fish, sometimes bringing up 5 trumpeter on 4 hooks!
In just one afternoon, the "new boy" Brandt said he caught more fish than he had caught in his whole life up until that time! Boy, was he pleased with his efforts!
They cleaned and filleted the catch back at Sput's. It took them quite a while, even allowing for the fact that it was thirsty work!

All the rest of us had to do that night was to cook it and eat it, which we did with great delight. The excess was put into the freezer. There will be plenty of fish meals coming up in the next week or two!

One of our favourite ways of enjoying fish is Tahitian Fish. There is usually a big bowl of it for any picnic or special occasion. Here is how we prepare it at Devon.

Take some fillets of firm white fish. My favourite is Kingfish. Cut it into fairly small diced pieces.

Soak it for a few hours in lemon juice. Some lime juice makes it really special. If you don't have either of these, white vinegar is not too bad as a substitute!

If you are in a hurry, keep forking through the fish and it will marinate quicker.

Once the fish is white (as if it had been "cooked") drain off some of the liquid and add coconut cream. Some Norfolkers add ordinary cream. Also add a selection of the following for colour, flavour and texture.

Salt and pepper, Chopped onion, parsley, chives, celery, cucumber, capsicum, grated carrot, chopped firm tomatoes.

I must confess to liking garlic in it, which I can either add when marinating, or else I am liberal with the garlic salt when seasoning.

Years ago, Paddy and the late Dick Cavill used to serve a form of this dish in their famous Garrison Restaurant here on Norfolk Island. It was called "Paddy's Aoli." They used to slice the fish into fine flat slivers. This is best done when the fish is somewhat frozen. The marinated slivers were arranged on a dish and served with Aoli (garlic mayonnaise.) I must confess that I usually use a commercial Aoli from a jar when I do this dish.

I am told that in a few decades, fish and chips will be a luxury, because we will have overfished our oceans. On the whole, our local fishermen are fairly responsible, imposing voluntary limits on their catches at certain times of year. But we know there are large foreign fishing vessels out there in our waters, and we do not seem to be able to do much about it. Let us hope the world comes to its senses so future generations of island people can continue to enjoy something fresh from their seas.

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