Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On the Wild Coast and Baked Fish & Chips

Still high on our leopard sighting, we drove out of Kruger and back to Johannesburg.  After removing a sizable amount of tar from the sides of the Micra, we dropped her at the airport and hopped a short flight to East London at the southern end of the Wild Coast. We caught our ride to Buccaneers Backpackers at Cintsa and immediately (after some begging) devoured some honey-glazed chicken skewers, salad, and bread.  We woke up early for our shuttle to Kei Mouth, and the beginning of the Strandloper Trail.  We spent 3 days lazily wandering between the beach and the headlands, stopping at small pubs for lunch and sleeping in rustic 12 bunk cabins.

Braai Fire at Double Mouth

The first night we had a braai pit and wood, but the store in Morgan Bay was closed when we got there, meaning we were stuck with ramen noodles and peanut butter for dinner.  While watching the waves and dolphins from our porch at Double Mouth, I spotted 2 fishermen, and we quickly sent Steven and Matt with 20 rand in change (about $2) to chase them up the beach.  The mission was successful: Rockfish for dinner.

The second night was a no-fires-allowed cabin, so we ate a large lunch in Haga Haga and bought some fresh vegetables for salad to go with our crackers and cheese/peanut butter.  On day 3 we walked a lazy 10 kilometers of beach back to the hostel in Cintsa and spent the afternoon playing in the surf, watching a huge Southern Right Whale, and lounging.

Today's recipe is inspired from our pub lunches.  I could tell you how to barbecue a whole fish, but I am no expert, and I doubt many of you are all that interested.

Pub-Style Baked Fish and Chips with Yogurt Tarter Sauce
Serves 2-4
The recipe is sort of a combination from the Food Network and Roasted Root
  • 1 pound russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 pound of cod, halibut, or other white fish, cut into 1 ounce portions
  • 1/2 cup flour (you can use any mix of rice flour, whole wheat, cornmeal, etc; I used 1/2 rice and 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup beer (brown ale is the best choice)
  • 2-3 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, with a large baking sheet on the top rack.
2. Toss potatoes with olive oil and paprika.
3. Spread potatoes onto pre-heated sheet in a single layer and return to top rack.
4. Whisk together eggs and flour until smooth, add beer and continue to whisk.
5. Spread 1 cup of bread crumbs onto a large plate.
6. Dip each piece of fish into the batter, and then roll in the Panko, if bread crumbs are not sticking, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the batter before dipping the next piece.
7. When you run out of bread crumbs, refill the plate, if you put them all out at once you will end up with a soaked mess.
8. Place the fish onto an oiled baking sheet and place on the bottom rack in the oven.
9. Flip the potatoes after 15 minutes and continue baking both the fish and potatoes for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and the fish is cooked through. Season chips with kosher salt.
10. To create a more browned crust on the fish, lightly mist with canola oil after 5 minutes in the oven (I did this a little to late, and mine turned out a little on the pale side.

Yogurt Tarter Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 medium dill pickle cut into a small dice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

1. Combine all ingredients and serve with fish and chips.

Day 1 on the trail.
Lunch at Morgan Bay
Surfing Dolphins
Fish Purchase
Proud of his fish
Headed toward Double Mouth

Sunrise at Double Mouth

Photo: Mackenzie
Almost to hut number 2

The Mamas on their afternoon commute to Buccaneers (photo: Mackenzie)
Southern Right Whale Tail (photo: Mackenzie)
Boys. (photo: Mackenzie)

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