Fish Island Style
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1 fish (red snapper, etc), scaled and cleaned, per person
salt & pepper
carrots and/or parsnips, turnips, jicama – whatever ya got
maybe ginger, allspice, nutmeg, chile flakes
Plantains: peel and boil the green plantains with a little salt until they’re soft. Mash them up and add a little butter, salt & pepper. They're like mashed potatoes, only better. You can add some potatoes if you want, but be sure they finish cooking at the same time.
Vegetables: Peel and cut the vegetables into strips or chunks (not too small). You can roast them at 400 for 30 minutes or so, sprinkling salt and pepper and a little brown sugar on them for the last 5 or 10 minutes. Or you could sauté them in some oil and a little butter, adding salt, pepper and brown sugar (just a good sprinkle) in the last few minutes to caramelize them. Or just plain boil them in some salted water, drain and serve with lots of salt, pepper and butter (and even a tiny sprinkle of allspice or nutmeg at the last minute.)
Fish: For each person, you’ll need a whole fish (not too big), right out of the sea. If you want to get fancy, you can slice gashes in each side of the fish and marinate it in anything you like – onions, garlic, sweet and/or hot peppers, salt, pepper and oil and lime juice – for an hour or so. Then drain the vegetables and sauté them in a large frying pan until they soften. Push them to one side of the pan, add the fish, and cook on each side until fish just begins to flake when you test it with a fork.
You can skip the marinating stage if you’re in a hurry and just start by adding onions, garlic, peppers to the pan, and take it from there. Depending on what tastes you like, you could also add a little crushed ginger, some chile flakes or powder or other seasonings to the vegetables as they’re sautéing, and serve with a variety of hot sauces.
You can make the whole meal in well under an hour if you’re a little bit organized. Then enjoy with a beer or some white wine or whatever you like, and watch the fishing boats coming in. Much of this, like the fish fresh from the ocean, and the fishing boats coming in as I dine on the beach, is pure fantasy for me, of course. I live in Toronto.
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