Friday, March 8th, 2013 | posted by mike
Greetings from a jet-lagged fishmonger, fresh back from a phenomenal trip to New Zealand and Australia! We visited our great friends Chris and Dianne Patterson in Auckland to celebrate Chris’s birthday. After the party, in an old schoolhouse in the gorgeous New Zealand countryside, we headed north to the Bay of Islands for a week on the water. There seems to be as many sailors in New Zealand as there are sheep and Chris is one of them! Being a group leader of the Bucklands Bay Sea Scouts with lots of open ocean experience, he is a seasoned captain.
Sailing out of Paihia in the northern end of the North Island with Lisa, Chris, Dianne and one of Chris’s business partners, Weidong, we explored the Bay of Islands. What an incredible opportunity and experience! The weather was perfect the whole week, plenty of wind, warm days, and cool nights. We found calm bays of beautiful and diverse islands, some rugged and rocky, some with rock or sand beaches, some with bright green rolling hills with grazing sheep and cicadas chirping away.
To top it all off, the food was fantastic! We dove for urchins (served on crackers with olive oil and a splash of lemon) picked oysters off the rocks, and caught New Zealand snapper (especially Dianne, she was a tenacious snapper beast)! We had snapper for breakfast one morning and made snapper ceviche, so fresh and delicious, at cocktail time. The sweet, in season New Zealand tomatoes added to the super fresh flavors. Dianne and I both prepared ceviche and I have to admit, hers came out better than mine! She served it Peruvian style with boiled sweet potatoes and left more marinade in the final dish than I do. The sweet potatoes were so good with the tangy sour and spicy ceviche, and drinking the extra marinade at the end was perfect!
Thanks to Chris and Dianne for an incredible trip!
Today’s recipe (crispy Sichuan snapper), utilizes the same delicious snapper that we caught in the Bay of Islands. We’ll have some fresh from New Zealand this weekend. Chopsticks make it a cinch to pick the nice flakes of the fish off the bone.
Next week I’ll report on the Australian leg of our trip!
Lisa will be posting more photos on her photo blog soon!