Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cooking with fynbos


The other night I roasted some salmon fillets in packages stuffed with branches of Coleonema, a fragrant shrub that belongs to the fynbos biome of the Western Cape. In the horticultural trade it is usually known as confetti bush, because of its fine white and pale pink flowers.

It is in the aromatic Rutaceae family, as is its more famous cousin, buchu (Agathosma). I think it has potential as a herb that speaks of place - the aroma is citrusy, and slightly piney.

To top the salmon I made a quick cooked sauce of young rhubarb stems (in season at the moment), spiked with some ginger, sugar, salt and pepper. On the side,  oven-roasted tree tomatoes, whose acidity is softened by the heat.

To do something similar, sniff out what is indigenous in your area. Eastern red cedar? Bayberry? Pines? Wrap, and pack and roast.

Footnote: The use of salmon, in South Africa, for a locally inspired dish is ironic, to say the least, since it does not come even from this hemisphere. I shopped in a hurry, and am still working my way around the ins and outs of what is sustainable, here. I shall have to spend some time on the site for the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! You said tree tomato and now I'm drooling...
    As an aside, I remember going fishing (trout) as a child and the fisherman cleaned his trout, wrapped it in buttered brown paper with some "bits of fern", and baked it over coals.(No tin foil then so a cast iron camp oven was used.) But this makes me wonder what herb-y things he used.

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