Ok so the ceviches were delicious. Thinly sliced the shark and steeped in a mixture of lime juice, olive oil, light brown sugar and crushed pink peppercorns. The lime effectively cures or “cooks” the fish slightly although the sensation is more like eating sashimi than conventionally cooked fish. The squid was cut in to rings and along with the tentacles and strips of the shark, flash fried in a wok with chilli, garlic, nam pla (fish sauce), light soy sauce and a handful of chopped coriander to finish. The resulting dish was light, flavoursome and I presume fairly healthy. What is important, as with most seafood cooking, is not to overcook. This particular concoction should fly around in a hot wok for no more than four minutes. You can also finish with a small squeeze of lime juice but I recommend not going overboard.
Staying in the seafood vein, yesterday I decided a proper summer barbecue was long overdue, so headed for my sister’s, where there is a behemoth gas barbecue that really does the trick. I’m more of a charcoal man personally but it has to be said that the ease and convenience of gas has something to be said for it. On the menu were marinated salmon steaks with vegetable kebabs followed by caramelised onion chutney and feta burgers in focaccia and cos salad.
To my mind there are two main things to consider when char grilling salmon steaks. Firstly they should be good quality steaks, cut thick (which naturally these were). Secondly, they should be marinaded for at least two hours. This particular marinade consisted of toasted sesame oil, stir fry oil (?), garlic, chilli, ginger, lime juice, nam pla and golden syrup. The mixture was simply whisked until smooth and blended then the steaks thoroughly coated before going in the refrigerator for the full two hours. Vegetable kebabs were chunky cut courgette (zucchini), red, green and yellow peppers and red onion. Marinade was ginger, creamed horseradish, honey, sesame oil (for flavour), stir fry oil (for body) and honey. Final tip is again not to cook the steaks for too long. They need literally to sit over hot coals for just three to four minutes each side, so that the centre is still beautifully pink.
Finally the burgers were invented by Sharon Mountain so I can’t take the credit. Sharon won a “burger off” competition we had, in which I made burgers with horseradish creme fraiche and watercress, and was pipped by Sharon’s show stealers. These beauties were made by mixing caramelised onion chutney and crumbled feta in to the mince and mixing it through with a generous handful of flat leaf parsley. As the burgers cook, the nuggets of feta melt gently in to the meat and the resulting textures and flavours are quite delightful. A rule of thumb is that a burger bun should never overtake the patty, sauce, or filling, so my Mum’s freshly baked, one inch thick focaccia was the perfect bread to sandwich these awesome burgers in. Queue an all round chorus of approval.