Anna’s succulent fish

A fly-fishing expedition years ago bagged us some small trout that we simply pan-fried in butter and ate as an hors d’oeuvre before the ‘real’ braai. Then bigger fish gulped our flies and we had to figure out how to braai them over the coals as the main meal. I have since used this simple recipe when preparing freshly caught ocean fish with a delicate texture, like cob and red roman.

Do this first

Rinse and scale the fish properly, then open up the stomach cavity as wide as you can. Place the fish on two layers of heavyweight tinfoil with the shiny side facing inwards.

You will need

1 whole fresh fish
1 small onion, sliced into thin rings
1 tomato, sliced thinly
Parsley, finely chopped
Fish spice
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated cheddar cheese
Soft butter

Stuff the fish

Smear a smattering of Marmite inside the cavity of the fish. Follow this with a slathering of mayonnaise. Next, pack in a layer of onion rings and top this with a layer of tomato slices. Sprinkle the fish spice, pepper and salt over the tomato slices and top with a handful of grated cheese and parsley. Close up the fish and rub it all over with the soft butter. Fold the tinfoil over the fish to form a tight package. Braai your fish over medium to hot coals, turning it regularly so that it cooks through on all sides. The process could take about 40 minutes, but that depends on the size of the fish. You can carefully open up the package near the end of the cooking time to check if cooked through, and to allow the smoke of the fire to infuse it a bit. Enjoy the succulent and aromatic fish with potato salad and a slice of crunchy, buttered brown bread and grape jam.

Semi-sweet potato salad

Some folks (like kids and grandpas, it seems) don’t like mayonnaise. They complain that it is too sour! To get them to love your potato salad, add a little condensed milk to the mayonnaise – even if you’re using the very best brand of mayonnaise. (If you make your own mayo, that’s another story!) It’s difficult to predict the exact ratio of condensed milk to mayonnaise that you will like, so start o by adding a small quantity of condensed milk and have a taste as you go along. You will be amazed at the taste sensation of tart mixed with sweet. Another tip: Old-fashioned potato salad should always contain the taste of raw onion, but it’s not cool to bite into rough chunks of it. To avoid this, grate raw onion very finely before adding it to the mayonnaise mixture. Great garnishes and flavouring to add: Finely chopped parsley, hard-boiled egg and gherkins all add a lovely depth to the flavour.

Grape Jam

Make your own grape jam by adding 500g seedless grapes to a pot, and then add 1½ cups of sugar and 3 tablespoons of muscatel or lemon juice. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for an hour. Pour into sterilised jars.

The Gardener