Splash Out With Snoek
As the weather warms up and the days stretch into lazy summery evenings, my mind starts drifting home to the West Coast of South Africa. Here, we spent many evenings cooking snoek over wingerd stompies (vineyard trimmings). The butterflied snoek, akin to barracuda, would splutter and spit over the hot coals and become perfumed by the drippings of its own juices smoking in the fire. Snoek on the braai is what warm, almost-summer evenings are made for, and the leftovers make for many mouth-watering dishes, too.
As with any oily fish, snoek is naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your skin, brain and heart health. It’s also a lot easier to cook than non-oily fish, as the natural oils reduce the risk of over-cooking it and making it dry and unappetising.
Snoek is a great fish to cook over the coals as the smoky flavour it acquires greatly enhances its flavour. The leftovers can be used in a myriad of ways – from pâté right through to pizzas, pastas and salads.
Here are some of my favourite ways with snoek.
Lemon, chilli and herb braaied snoek
While you can’t beat snoek on the braai, you can just as easily cook this under a hot grill, too.
Serves 4 to 6
1 large Cape to Cairo Snoek, defrosted
Vegetable oil or non-stick spray
Salt and milled pepper
For the basting sauce:
1 tsp (5ml) Robertsons crushed chilli
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh lemon wedges and garlic bread, for serving
- Brush a large sheet of foil with oil or spray it with non-stick spray (this will prevent the snoek from sticking while it cooks).
- Place the snoek flesh-side up, skin-side down on the foil and season well.
- Mix the basting sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cook the snoek over medium coals while basting.
- Turn the fish once only, just before the end of the cooking time, to sear the flesh side and get some colour on it.
- Serve hot off the braai.
Snoek and mushroom pizza
This is a simple way to turn regular shop-brought pizzas into something special.
4 ready-made pizza bases
1 can (400g) All Gold tomato and onion mix
8 Peppadews®, finely chopped
250g small button mushrooms, cooked
2 cups (500ml) Cape to Cairo Snoek, cooked and flaked
6 cups (1.5l) grated mozzarella
Few shakes Robertsons dried oregano
Salt and milled pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Lay the pizza bases on a board and spread a thin layer of tomato mixture over each one. Add a few dollops of chutney.
- Scatter over the Peppadews®, mushrooms and snoek.
- Divide the cheese between the pizzas and finish with a little oregano, seasoning and a drizzle of oil. Bake the pizzas until they are golden and bubbly.
- Serve scattered with basil.
Snoek fish cakes
These are delicious warm or cold, and they make a great addition to lunch boxes. If you aren’t a fan of frying, cook them in an air-fryer or bake them in a hot oven.
Makes about 12 small fish cakes
For the fish cakes:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cooked
4 tsp (20ml) Royco Sour Cream and Chive Potato Bake mix
¼ cup (60ml) sour cream or 1 large mashed potato
3 cups (750ml) Cape to Cairo Snoek, cooked and flaked
For the crumbs:
Flour for dusting
2 cups (500ml) coarse breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
- Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Cool slightly.
- Place the onions in a bowl with all the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined but not too mushy.
- Shape the mixture into 12 small cakes and refrigerate for 30 minutes until set.
- Place the flour, crumbs and beaten egg into separate shallow bowls.
- Dust the fish cakes in flour then dip into egg and cover in crumbs.
- Heat 4cm of oil in a pan and fry the fish cakes until golden all over. Drain on kitchen towel and serve.
Cook’s tip: Serve the fish cakes with a quick tartar sauce made of Crosse and Blackwell Mayonnaise, zest of a lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add couple of chopped gherkins and a handful of fresh parsley and dill.
Snoek and potato salad
This is a great little salad that can be served as a side or the main event!
For the quick pickled onions:
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 tsp (10ml) sugar
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp (30ml) red wine vinegar
¼ cup (60ml) boiling water
For the salad
½ cup (125ml) Crosse and Blackwell Trim Low Oil Dressing
½ cup (125ml) low-fat yoghurt
Handful of fresh herbs such as parsley, tarragon or spring onions, chopped
Few shakes Ina Paarman Potato Spice
800g baby potatoes, cooked and halved
1-2 cups (250ml-500ml) leftover, cooked Cape to Cairo snoek, flaked
- Place all the pickled onion ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside and allow to pickle for 30 minutes, then drain.
- Mix the salad dressing, yoghurt, herbs and spice together in a large salad bowl.
- Toss in the potatoes and snoek, and gently fold through the dressing.
I hope you’ll give these recipes a try, and that you’ll like cooking and eating them as much as my family does.