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CapeCook - Rustic  South African Food

It’s all about the braai


Successful snoek braai starts at the point of purchase, once the fish is flecked take your finger and push softly into the flesh of the fish. The flesh should bounce back; if the indentation in the flesh stays there, the snoek is “pap” and believe me you don’t want a “pap” snoek.


There are various opinions as to what exactly makes a snoek “pap” (a pap snoek is not spoiled in the sense that you will get sick eating it, but it taste floury and in general just not nice) I am not going to bore you with all these different opinions, but just to be on the safe side, never put any sauce on the fish before you start to braai it.


Second step of a successful snoek braai is to make a fire, I don’t care what wood you use, as long as you use wood, and make sure you have enough coals, most snoek will need no longer than 15 minutes on the coals, providing that you have decent coals, not as hot as for steak, but hot enough, you can always braai the snoek a little higher from the coals if the coals are too hot, but never be embarrassed by not having enough coals to get your food cooked. Any decent braaier should have a side fire to supplement his/her coals just for incase.


Get your marinade ready before you start to braai (pretty obvious I would say) I grew up with snoek braaied with butter, lemon and apricot brushed over the fish, and I have not find any reason up to now to do it any differently.


For the marinade you will need:


100g butter

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 big spoon full smooth apricot jam

Juice of 1 lemon

Cook ever thing together until you have a smooth sauce.


Rinse the snoek with fresh water and pat dry, let it air dry for about half an hour, make sure the cat and flies can’t get to the snoek, they both love fish.

Add salt and black pepper to taste.


Use a grid shape like a basket to braai your snoek in, place the fish with the flesh side facing down into the basket, brush the skin with a little oil to keep it from sticking to the grit, and close the grid.


Start to braai the snoek with the flesh side facing the coals first, seal the flesh and turn around, brush with the marinade. Turn two or three times, but braai mostly with the skin side facing the coals, and brush constantly with the marinade.


When the fish flakes easily (test the thickest part) it is done, the rule is when you think it is ready, it is, take it off the coals, that extra minute or two is when the fish get dry. Serve with fresh bread and grape jam (korrel konfyt) or more apricot jam. As with any fish, snoek just taste better with a glass or two of cold white wine.


SNOEK OVER THE COALS