Living on an island, far from just about anywhere, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, what I used to like the most in French Polynesia was eating fish with everything and in many different ways. Meat was 100% imported from both New-Zealand and Chile, but fish was 100% locally collected – and my daily protein. At first, I was not a great fish connoisseur back then, but the freshness of daily-freshly-fished fish (hard to pronounce for me, but training!) made my palate learn and appreciate it along the way. I was living in Bora-Bora, in a guest-house owned by a local Polynesian fisherman, and since that time I have stayed very nosy about how people cook and eat fish around the world.
Prior to that, I was living in Southern China, and oh my goodness, there, Cantonese people really can cook fish too. I got my first real education to fish-liking between Guangzhou and Hong-Kong, where restaurants are actual fisheries presenting customers with their meal-to-be directly from the aquariums; guests pick the fish and seafood they want to have cooked, then choose from the menu the way they want it cooked, as well as desired seasoning and side vegetables. I’ve made wonderful discoveries of foods and flavors at that time.
There are many complex ways of cooking fish, but most times, the simpler the better. And people from the islands have understood that very well. I still have many islands to visit in our beautiful world, including all the islands from the Caribbeans. One of the French islands in this area of the world is the Guadeloupe. Among other local dishes, like the world-famous Colombo chicken for instance, Guadeloupeans have their own local street-food too: it is a sandwich that they call Bokit. It comes in a fried bread, stuffed with all kinds of raw veggies, and one can add salt codfish, or meat or ham, to their liking.
I couldn’t resign myself to fry my bread for that matter, so in order to keep it healthy I just grilled it and stuffed it with delicious and fresh ingredients. It sounds real simple like that, but I have read that some places in Guadeloupe are really famous for their Bokits, and people can queue in line for a great deal of time some days. I guess it is a bit like everywhere for any kind of food: where it is good, people wait and people pay and people talk about it. Well, my recipe is the simple one, no fry, but it sure did content our stomachs for lunch today!
- chopped tomato
- grated zucchini and/or carrot
- 1/2 onion
- 1 lime juice
- Cook the fish and let it cool off, then crumb it with a fork.
- Season with lime juice, coriander and salt.
- Add all other ingredients and combine well. Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve.
- If you opt for fried bread, now is the time to fry it.
- Stuff the bread with the fish salad and eat fresh.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2019 All Rights Reserved.