Our favourite lady of South African cooking products is most definitely Ina Paarman. While she started her career as a teacher, she has since opened a cooking school, been a food editor, written for magazines and newspapers, hosted TV shows, authored several books, and started the very successful Paarman Foods, supplying quality South African-inspired products to the market. As the company’s statement says: “The Ina Paarman products are ordinary enough to find their way into everyday dishes, sophisticated enough to transform the everyday into the exceptional, and consistent enough to have earned consumer trust.”
Ina is also a keen gardener, and we have been privileged to feature her amazing herb and veggie garden in our gardening magazines. There is one thing for sure – this lady knows how to cook, and people who have used her recipes are fans for life! Her affordable cookbooks are available at bookstores countrywide, while her website (www.paarman.co.za) also has loads of tasty recipes.
Fish in newspaper
Fish wrapped in wet newspaper and cooked amongst coals, or in a pizza oven, is a delicacy to rave about.
Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
1 whole fish (about 2.5 kg). Use Cape salmon, kabeljou (cob) or stockfish (hake)
Ina Paarman’s Lemon & Black Pepper Seasoning
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) Ina Paarman’s Tomato Pesto
4 tbsp (60 ml) butter
2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 ripe, red tomatoes, sliced
Ina Paarman’s Vegetable Spice
1 medium onion, sliced and loosened into rings
Fresh basil, origanum or marjoram
Scale the fish first, then ‘vlek’ (butterfly) it open along the belly and remove the backbone. Leave the tail intact. Season the fish with Lemon & Black Pepper Seasoning and a little sugar on the inside. Mix the Tomato Pesto, butter, lemon juice and garlic together. Spread a generous layer over one side of the inside of the fish. Add the tomato slices and season with Vegetable Spice. Add the onion rings and fresh herbs. Fold the fish to cover the filling. Place the whole fish on a large sheet of greaseproof or baking paper and wrap it up. Now re-wrap the fish in five sheets of newspaper and tie with string. Wet the paper thoroughly with
cold tap water. Make a hollow in the coals of the braai fire and nestle the fish amongst the warm coals. Also cover the fish with a few coals. Bake slowly. Allow 45-60 minutes. When the fish is done, the outer layers of the newspaper will be scorched. Slide two sturdy lifters under the fish and carefully remove it from the coals. Place it on clean sheets of newspaper and cut open the charred newspaper. You will find that the skin comes away easily from the tender, aromatic fish as you pull away the greaseproof paper. Delicious served with hot garlic bread and a crisp green salad dressed with Ina Paarman’s Classic Greek Dressing.