Acouple of Fridays ago Peter Bennett was toiling away with his wife Karen chopping up a mix of fruit for an end-of-race pick-me- up for a bunch of cyclists.
It was the night before the Egmont Seafoods around-Mt Taranaki-ride and they had bag loads of oranges, apples and pineapples to deal to.
"I had a couple of dozen pineapples to chop up and it took me back to the days when I opened oysters for a living - one in the bucket and one in my mouth," Bennett said.
"I'd only ever eaten pineapple from a can before so eating the real McCoy was a bit of a kid-in-a-lollie-shop experience. The pieces were delicious and neither of us could stop nicking them."
It also prompted Bennett to experiment with the ingredients of a salad to go with the snapper fillets he took home for tea last week.
"I wasn't sure how pineapple would work with snapper but it was perfect, I'm hooked."
The other salad ingredients included cucumber cubes, red onion, red peppers, avocado, lime (or lemon) juice and salt and pepper.
"I prepped the salad about an hour out from cooking the fish which allowed the lime juice to unite intimately with the fruit sugars."
Salads are all well and good but it was the simple combo Bennett used to cook the fish in that garnered my interest.
He mixed the juice of two oranges, two- three teaspoons of grated orange zest, three tablespoons of oil and ground pepper. That was poured over the fish which were cooked for 15 minutes in a cast-iron dish on the barbecue griller.
"Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fillets so you have to be careful not to overcook them. Keep the hood down if you have one and that will speed up the process. It will also promote any barbie woofs that might still be lingering from the last meal."
The trickiest part was selecting a wine to go with his "new" salad.
"It had to be a white so, being a red wine man, I had to get my white wine taste buds going. I did this by taking several deep sniffs over the salad for five or so minutes. When it was served I had a glass each of sav blanc, unoaked chardonnay and a dry riesling ready to test. The riesling came out on top but remember to open it early as it already contains a huge amount of acid and fruit sugars and you do not want to overdose the taste, if you know what I mean."
There was only one complaint about the whole meal.
"Karen reckoned the red onion wasn't chopped finely enough. I took this constructive comment in my stride and politely said next time I will measure the thickness with her credit card."
Oops. Here comes another thick ear.
PETE'S PINEAPPLE SALAD
1 cup of peeled, seeded and cubed cucumber
a cup of finely chopped red onion
sliced or cubed red pepper
2 cups peeled, cubed pineapple (cut stringy middle section out)
2 avocado peeled, pitted and diced
juice 2 limes (or lemons)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the cucumbers, onion, peppers, avocado, pineapple into a bowl. Squeeze the lemon or lime juice over all ingredients and gently toss.
BAKED SNAPPER IN ORANGE SAUCE
Snapper fillets, cut into serving size pieces
freshly ground black pepper
a few grinds of salt
3-4 tbs fresh orange juice (approx 2 oranges)
2-3 tsp grated orange zest
3 tbs cooking oil
Combine pepper, juice, rind, and oil. Place fish in single layer in an oiled oven- ready dish. Salt these without being scared of "too much". Pour sauce on top and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake or barbecue at 350 for approx 15 minutes or until fish is cooked. In the bbq keep the hood down and keep an eye on it until cooked.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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