We really feasted on the sea in the Loch Torridon area, with an abundance of mackerel, pollock and shell-fish!
We gutted and filleted the mackerel we caught immediately on the boat . . . The best way to do this (to eliminate the messiness of bones) is to first cut off the head and tail and then insert a knife along the back if the fish, on one side of, but as close to, the back bone as possible. Then open the fish out and remove the guts form the middle. Then, as demonstrated in the picture below, slip the knife under the back-bone and slice along to the other side and remove.
The finished product is shown in the picture below right, ready for cooking . . . or not as we decided with some of the fillets . . .They were so fresh, we sliced bits off and ate them raw with soy sauce as sashimi. Our friend Lucy, couldn’t get enough, it tasted so good!
My son and his friend had particularly big catches. The pollock, on the left, we turned into a delicious South Indian fish curry. Pollock is not as overfished as cod, but makes a good alternative – It’s not quite as tasty, but perfectly good in a curry. The recipe for this can be found in our Family Camping Cookbook, which although not as widely available as last year can be found in many major book shops as well as online.
Keralan Coconut Fish Curry (South Indian)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
1 in of ginger, finely chopped (optional)
1 fresh green or red chilli, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried chilli or chilli powder (optional)
a bunch of fresh coriander chopped
3 tsp garam masala or other curry powder
400g/14oz tinned tomatoes or 5 ripe fresh tomatoes , diced
400ml/13floz (1 tin) coconut milk
800g white fish fillet (Cod, Haddock, Kingfish, Pollock, Hake)
250 g cooked or raw large or king prawns, optional
juice of ½ lime (optional)
1 Soften the onions in the oil over a moderate heat for 10 minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and half the fresh coriander and cook for a further 2-3 minues, stirring while you do it.
2 Add the garam masala and stir in to coat the onion mixture. Then add the tomatoes, the coconut milk and plenty of seasoning and simmer over a low heat for 20 to 30 mins.
3 Add the fish by placing the pieces gently into the sauce and stir carefully so as not to break up the pieces. The fish should take five minutes to cook. If adding cooked prawns, add them just a minute before the fish is cooked to allow them to heat through. If the fish is not skinned or boned, carefully remove from the pan and scrape the skin off and try to pick out the bones.
4 Then put the fish back in the pan, add the remaining fresh coriander and serve with boiled basmati rice or Indian naan bread, and a squeeze of lime on top.
We were also fortunate to harvest yet more lobster, crab and langoustines, which we boiled up and enjoyed. This time we brought them to the boil in cold, salted water to cook them – boiling the langoustines for only one minute, the lobster for four and the crab for seven. Delicious simply with Lucy’s homemade mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon!
Because it was quite early in the season to harvest crab up on that area, there wasn’t that much meat in the crab. However, there was certainly enough to make Thai crab cakes, recipe below.
Our final day in this area was beautiful. We caught yet more mackerel, and cooked them there and then on the beach. Fuelled with a simple mackerel sandwich – it needs nothing more than a bit of salt and pepper, between two slices of brown bread – we walked the seven mile walk home from where we had been brought by boat!
Thai Crab Cakes
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 250g/9oz crab meat
- 1 bunch roughly chopped coriander
- 4 spring onions finely sliced
- 2 eggs
- 1 handful bread crumbs
- plain flour, for dusting
- 1 tsp sesame oil & sunflower oil for frying
- sweet chilli sauce
- salt and pepper
- Combine the chilli with the crabmeat, coriander, sesame oil and spring onions. Crack in one egg and mix well, then stir in half the breadcrumbs.
- Form the crab cake mixture into patties. Place on a tray and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes before cooking.
- Dredge a crab cake in the flour, then dip into the remaining egg (beaten) and coat in the breadcrumbs. Shake gently to remove any excess breadcrumbs. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the crab cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden-brown all over. Transfer the crab cakes to a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through.
- Serve the crab cakes with sweet chilli sauce.