Paula Martinez shares a recipe that reminds her of home, a delicious fish and rice dish sure to keep the cold days ahead at bay.
I am a Brazilian-Ecuadorian student at UCD. I grew up in multiple South American countries, Panama, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, due to my father’s job. The only constant in my life has been my parents, which to me, are the meaning of ‘home’. As I have an Afro and I am light-brown skinned, people have always been very curious about where I am from, which to me has always been difficult to answer. I am currently studying what identity means for Black young people in the world for my Master's Thesis, but one thing that keeps coming up on identity is mainly how a person feels about a particular culture. And to me, one of the main connectors and bases to my culture which is Latino (particularly Ecuadorian Brazilian), is food.
Food to me has always been the main way to express deep love towards others, feeding someone good, hearty, tasty food is a feeling that to me is so intimate and powerful. My Mom and Dad have always cooked everything from scratch for us, and birthdays would be feasts of seven or more dishes made by all of us together.
I am so thankful to my roots, and my Dad and Mom, who keep communicating this ancestry of recipes in my family and this ideology of food as culture and love. I always show love through food to my Irish partner and friends and they adore it! It is nice to see things like expressing love through food are borderless.
Here is one of my many favourites - Walnut and lemon baked fish with broccoli and rice:
*Disclaimer: us Latinos eat fish with the tail and the head because a lot of flavour is contained there, and we are not scared of acknowledging meat comes from an animal!*
‘Food to me has always been the main way to express deep love towards others, feeding someone good, hearty, tasty food is a feeling that to me is so intimate and powerful’
1- Put a whole fish into a baking tray, preferably a glass one, after taking off the scales with a knife (Google how, it’s fun and wild!) and cutting the belly of the fish in half and taking out the insides, which you can keep for stews!
2 - Put the juice of 2 limes over and inside it, half a package of crushed walnuts, 6 garlic cloves, rosemary, salt (I would say two generous big pinch’s on each fish), pinches of black pepper, cumin, and basil leaves.
3 - Fill the fish's belly with lemon slices and walnuts and salt and black pepper, then pour some olive oil on top of the fish skin.
4 - Put it in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for up to 25 minutes, checking at 20 minutes so as not to overcook the fish.
5 - While the fish cooks, boil rice and broccoli pieces separately until ready, and then fry it together with garlic and black pepper and butter until the rice has a bit of colour.
6 - Serve with the rice and enjoy!