Phil’s Seafood BBQ

Fresh from start to finish : from wet market to grill !

It was a very early a.m. wake up, to get to the wet market as the stalls were opening and the fish unloaded … Tekka, stirring to gleaming scales and slippery heaps on the one side, vegetables being unpacked in another, eggs heaped, chicken/s diced, curry pastes in packets, meat prepared as chops, mince, cubes or for a stir-fry; the commerce and energy of food and food preparation on a Wednesday morning.

So as Phil inspected sea bass, king prawns, crab, salmon and more, moving from stall to stall, I got fresh salad leaves, some tempe and tahu from the busy, no-time-to-talk mother of two (the old grandmother packed them up for me, hands trembling, but careful and punctilious in her work), and then a couple of dozen organic, low cholesterol eggs, fragrant basil and a pomegranate.

Watching the vendor weigh and clean the fish was watching performance art of precision and detail : scaling and gutting the fish, the careful removal of fins, the drying and the packing, even as he beautifully sliced salmon for another customer and laid them in a perfect fan-shaped wedge on the scales.

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The wine was poured and the coals flared and settled to a heat.

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The fish was wrapped in a banana leaf, the prawns de-veined, the squid cleaned and skewered, and left-over grilled salmon was converted into a fried rice with toasted seaweed and sesame seeds.

And a salad was assembled : arugula, oak leaf lettuce and sliced fennel, pomegranate arils, crumbled feta, sliced mushroom and sunflower seeds, tossed with raspberry vinaigrette. And salt. And pepper. And a dash of freshly pressed avocado oil.

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Photographs : Anita Thomas

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