Eating Barracuda Doesn’t Always Kill You
I’m afraid of Barracudas. There are loads of them in Cayman waters, and while I’ve never gotten into a fist fight with one, there have always been rumors of them chomping on the unsuspecting diver or snorkeler.
Imagine my surprise when on a recent fishing (or in my case booty-shaking while on the boat) trip, my buddy Alejandro reeled in an evil looking Barracuda and declared it to be dinner.
Not only are they all teeth – grrr – but they also come equipped with some nasty folklore: That is, Barracudas are poisonous. In Cayman, the old people say the way to tell if your Barracuda is deadly is to clean it and toss a small chunk on a pile of ants. If the ants eat it, so can you. Alejandro – a West Baya – likes to live life on the edge so he opted to go in blind.
After cleaning the fish, Alejandro filleted it and washed it with lime juice. He seasoned to taste with just a little bit of sea salt and pepper and let that marinate for a few hours in the fridge. In a small bowl, he combined chopped onions, scotch bonnet and thickly sliced garlic.
Time to toss it in the frying pan with a considerable amount of oil. ‘You want to live free,’ says Alejandro, ‘and die young.’ When the oil was ‘hot up’ he threw in the onions, scotch bonnet and garlic to ‘flava da oil.’ Once they were soft, he plucked the veggies out of the oil and placed them in a small bowl with a couple tablespoons of white vinegar and lime.
At this point, Alejandro placed the Barracuda steaks in the skillet, turning when neccessary being careful ‘not to dry out de fish.’ He let the steaks cook until they were just about finished. Then ‘ya pour ya bowl of seasoning wid di juice ova di fish in da skillet, cova it wid a lid and let sit bout 5 more minute over a low fya.’
Simple and delicious.
And in Cayman its not fried fish if there aren’t fritters.
Fritters by Alejandro
You will need:
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
about 1/2 cup milk
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add milk until the mixture is clumpy. Not too wet like cake mix. Pull off a golf ball sized portion of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten like a UFO, not a pancake. Make sure the texture is smooth, not cracked.
- Have a plate ‘one-side’ with flour to dip or pat the UFO’s in so they don’t stick to the plate or your hands before going in the pot.
- Fill a small pot with oil and warm over high heat. Make sure the oil is very hot before the dough is dropped in. When the fritters are dropped in, they should fall to the bottom of the pot and then rise as they cook. Turn them while cooking until all sides are golden brown.
- Drain and serve with your fried fish