It is that time of year again where the up-country visitors have gone back home, the schools have started and weekends belong to the locals again. And the best part is that the crayfish season (Cape lobster for those not from around here) is still open for us over weekends, along with the most exquisite weather for sailing. At this time of year the infamous Cape Doctor, the prevailing southeaster, abates to under thirty knots, which makes for exhilarating sailing.
I was blessed on the last two occasions to have gone sailing in winds of around fifteen knots in champagne weather, enjoying the most beautiful sun, excellent companionship and some good food to boot.
This dish was again prepared on board the yacht Rhapsody of my friend Les. Perhaps this dish will go some way in thanking him for letting me cook aboard.
On this occasion I made a salad with some fresh tomatoes, a small onion, half of a fresh Thai chilli, spicy sausages and a crayfish tail or two. This salad can pass muster as a light meal or a starter, whatever turns your fancy. It is exceedingly easy to make and other seafoods may be substituted for the lobster. I have used frozen de-shelled prawns as well, for those up-country friends with only the local supermarket for a source of seafood. And I think that de-shelled mussels, chopped calamari steaks and heads would work as well.
The original idea for this dish came from a BBC good food recipe for a tomato and chorizo salad. It is open season still on weekends, so we had some lobster. So I adapted the recipe. The seafood and spicy sausage go well together, enhanced with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and tarted up by the glow of the chilli.
Take care with the chilli. Rather use less, else the chilli will overpower the other tastes. You need the barest of glows, so use half of the chilli and remove the pips.
The original recipe calls for sherry vinegar, which is something exotic in this neck of the woods. Use regular vinegar and add some flavour by adding a dash of white wine. Or use apple cider vinegar. You may add a dash of lemon juice too. You are making a salad dressing, so use your imagination and make a plan.
This dish goes well with a dry or off-dry white wine. The dish is simple, so you don't need a fancy wine, any quaffing wine will do. But it will work well for a special occasion as starter, in which case an off-dry Methode Cap Classique bubbly will work wonders...
2 medium tomatoes, sliced in thin slices over the poles, then the slices halved.
1 medium onion, sliced over the poles Chinese style.
½ Thai chilli, pips removed and finely chopped
250 g spicy sausages. Chorizo if you have some. And salami may be too dry and spicy. Cut diagonally into slices of not more than 10mm thick.
250 g seafood, Any seafood. We used lobster. Cut into 12mm / 1/2 inch slices. Prawns may be used whole.
Butter for frying
For the dressing¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Heat up a dollop of butter in a frying pan, then add a dessert spoon of the sliced onions and the chopped chilli. Fry until the onions are translucent, then add the sausages. Fry the sausages until they go brown. Remove from the pan and add them to the tomatoes and onions. Your dish is almost done.
Now add the raw seafood to the pan and fry it in the pan juices until done. This takes about five minutes because you sliced the seafood rather thin. This is good, because by now everybody is suddenly hungry from smelling the frying onions. Get someone else to open the wine. This will keep them busy. Good crew management, I should think.
Add the fried seafood to the rest of the salad, along with all the pan juices. Mix thoroughly, then sprinkle some of your olive oil and balsamic vinegar salad dressing over this lot.
This post compiled for the GBYC newsletter
Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2013-01-20