Stay tuned for some news about the blog in the next few weeks. In the meantime, a little thought piece from yours truly, and a delectable way to eat your fish and veggies ;).
I was never a skilled fisherwoman growing up, but I always loved those trips to the promontory, crossing the beach in our sneakers and cutting marks in the sand with the tips of our fishing poles. My dad would lead, carrying the tackle box, the bait bucket, and at least one fishing rod, followed by my brothers and me, bringing up the rear. We’d chatter and laugh as we navigated our poles through the spruce trees and away from the poison ivy patches that dotted the journey out to the rocks.
Once we reached the Giant’s bathtub, the choice would be clear: fish off the backside of the promontory for a chance at striper and cunner, or try our usual spot on the sharp black rocks to fish the rising tide and the fleet of pollock that would come in with it. I’d sit, sometimes with my walkman and beach boys tape, sometimes with a book, on a well-worn knob, content to throw my line in the peaceful bathtub and watch the kelp sway with it, while my brothers fished off the tumultuous backside, lifting fish into the air as surf poured through the blowholes and landed with great booms that sent sea spray all the way to the other side of the promontory.
I’m still proud of the times I almost caught, respectively, a big crab and a dogfish which was chasing the pollock on my line, and the time I did catch the family’s record-length pollock, a keeper at 17 inches, big enough to have its portrait painted by my Dad and go up on the wall of record fish in the cottage. But mostly I was glad for the experience, for being out on that beautiful, sea sprayed point with its 270 degree view of the cottages, the coastline, the Three Sisters, and Little River beyond, for the aura of romance and adventure wrapped up in the New England landscape, and for the fish we’d take back, fry up, and serve with fresh clams and mussels from the clam flats.
In this new generation, things have changed and the quiet spit of beach that was a majestic magic universe for me and my brothers, full of limpet discoveries and beach olympics, is enjoyed by a horde of weekend renters with bocce sets and beach tents. The shells and starfish have faded, the discoveries of the tide pool never as vibrant as those early days of red octopi and purple anemone. But the fish have stayed, for now. And as long as they’re with us, I look forward to leading my nephews out onto the rocks, helping them make the jump across the broken ones, setting them up with their poles and seeing who likes to cast a line and who in the end prefers to read their book and watch the others. I want this tradition to continue, amidst the iPhones and internet inundation, as the fresh ocean air and the fog that comes in every evening does. I want to pass on these experiences, the roots of food harvesting and making meals for family gatherings, for their joyful sensations – for the gusts of sea spray whipping my hair, and the crackle of frying fish back in a warm, friendly cottage.
- 1 pound any white fish (I used cod)
- 1 onion (I used Spanish/purple)
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 2 garlic scapes
- 3 scallion stalks
- 4 radishes
- ½ c tigernut flour
- ½ c Otto's cassava flour
- 2 tb olive oil
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (optional, for color)
- 1 tb apple cider vinegar or lemon/lime juice
- olive, avocado, bacon fat, or coconut oil for frying
- Chop fish into bite-sized pieces.
- Mince garlic, onion, scapes, scallions and radishes (or food process lightly).
- Add fish and chopped veggies to a mixing bowl; add flours, oil, salt, turmeric, and acid, and mix well. You should end up with a batter that sticks together and is spoonable in big chunks (if it's too loose/doesn't adhere, add a bit of water).
- Add 1 tb of cooking oil to a good, non-stick saute pan (I used my cast iron saute pan) over medium heat.
- When oil is hot, form fish cake patties (about 2 inches wide) in pan. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until brown, then cover and lower heat to cook through a few more minutes (you can also finish these/keep warm in the oven while the others are cooking).
- Serve while hot, with toum, aioli, pesto etc., and feel free to garnish with scallions or parsley.
This recipe has been shared on Phoenix Helix’s Paleo-AIP Roundtable.