I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

October 13, 2009

Here fishy fishy fishy....

This is my call of the wild. For last weekend.

After returning home from our annual vacation, my head is filled with visions of tuna sashimi, garlic feta tuna, ahi poke on crispy wontons, salad nicoise, fried dorado "fingers" and filets, wahoo steaks and more.

Maybe I should explain how we are in posession of a freezer chest full of fresh caught yellow fin tuna, dorado & wahoo filets. Enough fish to have to buy another cooler on the way to the airport!

My family is blessed to be friends some folks who make their home in the southern part of Baja California in a place called Rancho Leonero. North of San Jose del Cabo by about an hour or so on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja, it is a small collection of private homes with the namesake resort on the very tip of the "neighborhood". The closest town is La Ribera, a small seaside town (with a full scale marina & golf course on the way, it may not be small for long) that is lucky enough to have friends like Bruce & Jill. Every year they host a fishing tournament to benefit the East Cape Guild, (www.eastcapeguild.com) who in turn benefits the local school system and children of La Ribera. Every year, the tournament and the guild raise money by taking the funds from the entry money (a measly $100 per fisher-person) and also by selling t-shirts, caps, cookbooks, raffles and auction prizes to the folks who attend. Automatically, 1/2 of the money from the entry goes straight to the guild and traditionally, the winner of the tournament and recipient of the other 1/2 of the prize money has donated the winnings straight back to the guild to further assist the kids & schools. After the first few years of fixing the roof on the schoolhouse, adding air conditioning and purchasing school supplies such as books and computers, the guild now has taken to offering scholarships to students as education in Mexico is only offered through the 7th grade. They do an amazing service to to the community and the kids and all we have to do is go on vacation to help them. Not so hard, huh?

I'll get the bad part out of the way now....Brock and I did not win the tournament.

The good part? Oh yeah, go back up to the top of the page!!!

First you rent your boat....it comes with a captain and deckhand to assist you throughout the day. Then you hit up the bait boats for some serious sardines. Then maybe you head out a bit to bring up some giant Humboldt squid (more bait), which is similar to reeling up a 65# cinder block from 700 feet below. It really helps to have a strong boyfriend at this point. Then you head down the coast towards Cabo Pulmo or way out in to the Sea of Cortez. And then you pray. Or you sing "Here fishy fishy fishy". Or sit on your butt drinking beer. Or you wear your lucky fishing earrings. Whatever it may be, I hope it works for you. The Sea is full of beautiful fish both for sport and for the table, you are likely to get one or the other on the end of your rod.

Day one: Blown out, pulled in the docks, no one fished. :(

Day two: Gorgeous, semi-sunny skies, hit the jackpot with a serious teeming pot of dorado. There really is no way to describe these fish, boiling next to the boat, hitting every line we had, the four of us passing lines to one another, hauling up as many as we could before they figured out what we were doing! We caught 6 fish in about 5 minutes, limited at 9 and decided to call it a good day.


Day three: Fished for the squid, hauled up 3 (ouch), hit on some tuna at about 11am and in the midst of a tuna frenzy, the tropical storm decided it was time to dump on us. Laughed our asses off while hauling in the catch. Soaked and giddy, no other bites, called it a day; we had plenty of camp meat and then some!


I am pretty sure we had tuna as an appetizer 3 nights in a row in various forms, but always fresh, sliced, with soy + wasabi. Seriously, there is nothing better. My best moment though? Watching David, the brother of our deckhand, fillet the tuna for us and me, looking at the carcass and the meat still clinging to the bones going...."What is that? Why is there so much on there? You are going to waste it?????" So he sliced a bunch off for me and I got to eat it there, in the rain under the pine trees at the Rancho. I wish I had a picture. No soy, no wasabi, just fresh, raw tuna. So freaking good. If I could have had my way, I would have scraped off every available and savory morsel and made it in to something delicious for us. Maybe next time I will ask for the carcass.

Departure day: Split up the meat between all of the couples that came and hope that your cooler doesn't weigh over 50# and you have to pay $50 to get it on the plane. Nope....ours weighed 90#, which means we would have paid $100. One brand new cooler later and we were on our way home without any extra charges to the airline, love it!

Tonight: First night home and practiced 3 ways of making ahi poke in the Hawaiian fashion.

Ahi Poke is a traditional way of preparing ahi tuna in Hawaii. There are many variations, but the staple recipe is below. Brock and I tried a few variations and will most likely continue to experiment and perfect them. Our suggestions are there, but feel free to play with it and make it your own. As we said tonight over chopped onions, garlic & ginger; it is hard to mess up when the fish is that good.

Ahi Poke

2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, cubed small
1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Blend everything together and chill for at least a half an hour.




Best served on crispy wontons!


Variations
Add:
1 T minced ginger
or
1T minced jalapeno + 1 T minced garlic
or
1 tsp Siracha Sauce
or
Sub Ponzu Sauce for Soy & add lemon zest (no juice!)
or
add 1 tsp mustard (can be flavored if you wish!)


Any of these can be combined or you can use your imagination.

Salud!

1 comment:

ventura foodie said...

An easy and appropriate substitute for the wontons (especially if you have gluten intolerant friends) are the rice crackers- particularly the one w/ the seaweed! (How do you say "bon appetit" in Hawaiian?...)