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Terry Fortune’s ‘Secret ingredient’ pickled fish

Easter wouldn’t be the same without this favourite on the table. Terry Fortune shares his tried and tested recipe.


Every year on Good Friday, I host The Terry Fortune International Pickled Fish competition at my home (just to be brêkkerag). Although the social element is still present, it has become very competitive over the years.


There are comments such as “Oh, I get my fish straight from the boats”, or “I only buy the onions for my pickled fish from Woolies in Constantia”, and “Judges’ wives are not allowed to enter”. A friend was once disqualified for using balsamic vinegar, and another for trying to enter the tinned fish variety!


The pickled fish competition creates a space and time for family and friends to get together and celebrate the miracle of life and their blessings, and to remember those loved ones who passed on.

After an appeal to Mr Pickled Fish himself (yours truly), a decision to add an “Exotic” category was brokered. We have judges, a floating trophy and consolation prizes (consisting of my unwanted Christmas and birthday gifts). Besides my tongue-in-cheek attitude, the pickled fish competition creates a space and time for family and friends to get together and celebrate the miracle of life and their blessings, and to remember those loved ones who passed on.


Everyone has a “secret ingredient” that they add to their sauce, and everyone swears it’s that which makes their dish an aromatic, gourmet Cape Town delicacy.


My secret ingredient is love. Add lots of it...

This is my recipe for pickled fish tasting reasonably delicious and spicy...


Terry Fortune’s Pickled Fish


Ingredients


  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 2 kg firm white fish, cut into bite-sized pieces (I use hake)

  • 1 cup (250 ml) flour

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 4 large white onions, cut into rings

  • 1 cup (250 ml) brown vinegar, mixed with 1 cup (250 ml) water

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) apricot jam

  • Cartwrights curry powder, to taste

  • 1 tsp (5 ml) black peppercorns

  • 1 tsp (5 ml) coriander seeds

  • 2 tsp (10 ml) turmeric

  • 6-8 bay leaves


Directions


  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Lightly dust the fish with flour and season with salt and pepper. Fry until the fish is browned (about 5 minutes per side).

  2. Boil the onion rings in the water and vinegar mixture, and add the apricot jam, all the spices, and the bay leaves. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

  3. In a heat-proof dish, layer the fish and onions and spoon the sauce over until the fish is covered.

  4. Let the mixture cool, then place it on the bottom shelf of the fridge and let it rest for 3 to 5 days for the spices and fish to marinate.

  5. My secret ingredient is love. Add lots of it, and when ready, eat it with fresh, homemade hot cross buns. Enjoy!

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