There is much more to the beach then I first thought. I have to admit I am not a water person, particularly not natural water. Though I love swimming but it hast to be in a swimming pool. I can rarely fully enjoy seawater -I guess this is where growing up in a landlocked country shows. However I love the beach. Who doesn’t?
During the trip we visited many beaches and despite the few tiny downside of camping on the beach (sand everywhere, salty air eating away vehicle parts) it was always fun, relaxing adding a “mini holiday” sense to the trip.
We travelled through Central America visiting many beaches on both, the Caribbean and on the Pacific sides only enjoying the obvious, though it was in South America (Ecuador, Peru, Chile) where we begun taking advantage of the “given” of beach towns -getting fresh fish straight from the fishermen.
Actually, having said that it was in Belize, Central America where we first had a chance to buy fish and lobsters from the nice and gentle natured fishermen, that’s where John was taught how to spear fish and where I was shown how to gut and fillet fish.
It was also in Belize where we met the one and only wonderful couple, Rhoda and Steve who kindly invited us to their land to stay for a few days. The boys were out fishing all day while Rhoda was baking and cooking surprising us constantly with delicious snacks and cookies she throw together, or refreshing cocktails at the end of the days.
Every evening we barbequed the fresh seafood and crack open a bottle of wine or beers.
But at the end of the day it was Rhoda’s ceviche that stole the show. It was made essentially with fresh seafood and home-grown veg.
1/2 lb Conch -cubed small
1/2 lb prawns -whole or cut
2 tomatoes -diced
2 medium size red onions -finely diced
1-2 celery -diced
1 carrot -minced
1 red pepper -minced
1 yellow pepper -minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 jalapenos or any chilli peppers -diced
crunchy salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
It is amazing.
Almost a year later, in Ecuador we stayed at a very pretty place, next to a small fishing village. Parking up on the top of a huge cliff overlooking the small bird-populated island opposite was gorgeous. It was so nice we stayed over a week (as oppose to 2 days as planned) and pretty much every day we walked down to the village to get fresh fish for the daily BBQ.
Actually, the truth was that it was whale-migrate season so fishing was very limited or for bigger fishing boats it was not allowed. However finding the right individual fishermen we always got some prime product whether it was prawns, tuna or bonito.
Though one time we were the dumb tourists or just people who know not much about fish we bought something that was, by the look, remarkably similar to tuna (I believe the man who sold it to us said it was tuna) but regrettably later we found out it wasn’t. I forgot its name but it was awful. Tough, dark, dry meat with very fishy taste.
The friendly owner of the campground and his wife were kind enough to advise us after our mistake on what to and not to buy next time and helped us to cut the beast for the BBQ. (no joke, she needed a hammer!) Good job that night I made fried potatoes and we had lots of salad coz the most of the fish went to the cat (though the other half of it was in the fridge)
One day we managed to get Bonito. I decided to go with me instinct and do something simple with it which turned out to be a delicious decision.
The No Fuss Bonito (4x)
4 cloves of garlic -finely chopped
1 small bunch of parsley -finely chopped
2-3 tomatoes -sliced
olive oil, salt and pepper and tin foil
– I washed the fish and laid out a large enough piece of tin foil.
– I dribbled the olive oil on to the tin foil and laid a few pieces of tomatoes then I laid the fish on top of it.
– I sprinkled some garlic and the parsley inside the fish and added a couple of slices of tomatoes as well.
– On the top I drizzled more oil, added few more slices of tomato, salt and pepper and some more parsley.
– I loosely wrapped the Bonito but made sure the pack is airtight so the steam has space to work throughout the fish but doesn’t escape.
– Popped the packages on to the BBQ and cooked it for 12-15 minutes (depends on size too so check it before remove it)
– Made simple rice and salad on the side.
Bonito is a beautiful, white meat fish and I thought keeping it simple will do a favour to its delicacy. It is one of our favourite seafood dish now. Don’t forget to have a glass of fresh-flavour white wine with it.