Thursday 17 April 2008

Oman: pit-roasted tuna

Al's fishing had produced large amounts of seaweed rather than the item which was to be the main ingredient in our slow-cooked fish plans. Hence we drove to the appropriately-named village of Fins, where we purchased a 40cm tuna from a fishing boat. The price was one rial – I know, I know, I should have haggled.

We stopped at a couple of small shops for other ingredients and drove back feeling most pleased with ourselves. The plan to use banana leaves had to be abandoned after an unsuccessful trip to a nearby palm grove.
Back at the camp, a second fire was already in progress as we hacked up the beast and left it to marinate in the cool-box for a few hours.

The hours passed. The sun was hot. The sea was deliciously warm with belly-boarding waves. We were itching to get the fish in the fire. As the sun dropped towards the mountains behind, we cleared the ashes from the fire to reveal the large flat base stone onto which the foil bundle was placed. Smaller super-heated stones were placed around the fish and we finished the process by covering everything with sand to retain as much heat as possible. We waited. Our estimated cooking period was guided by 'stab-in-the-dark' methodology.

With other dishes prepared, the time had come. We scraped away the covering to reveal the darkened bundle which was carefully opened to avoid the addition of crunchy sand to the meal. It was superb. Well, actually it was overcooked, but nonetheless, worth the effort.

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