It's so easy to find new and exciting recipes in modern times, just by performing a simple search online which will only take a matter of seconds. As well as searching for specific recipes, however, or recipes containing specific ingredients, it is also possible to search for recipes from around the world to boost your culinary knowledge and further vary your meal time menus. Type the name of a country in to to a search engine with the words "food" and "recipe" and you are likely to be spoiled for choice.
The only real drawback when performing a geographical specific recipe search is that very often you will find magnificently tasty looking dishes but find equally that you are unable to obtain the necessary ingredients in your part of the world. That was the problem I initially came across when I searched for a recipe from Ghana. When I eventually saw a really simple salad dish incorporating avocado, smoked fish and eggs, I decided to prepare my own particular version.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 smoked mackerel fillet*
- 1 medium size and strength red chili
- 1 tablespoon full cream milk (or light/single cream)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Juice only of half a large lime
- Black pepper
- 1 ripe hass avocado
- Basil leaves, rolled and finely sliced, to garnish
*Smoked Atlantic mackerel would of course not likely be the type of smoked fish used in this recipe in Ghana. You could really use just about any type of smoked fish you wish. Just make sure that if using a white fish that has been cold smoked, you cook and cool it before including it in this recipe.
If you have time, take the eggs from the fridge half an hour in advance of their being boiled. Otherwise, the cooking time will need to be extended by a minute or two but more importantly, they will also be more likely to crack during cooking. Place them in a pot of cold water and bring the water to a gentle simmer for nine or ten minutes.
Take the pot to your sink and run cold water in to it for about thirty seconds. This will cool the eggs enough that they can easily be handled. Crack the eggs all over on your work top or other hard surface and peel. Very importantly, put them back in to the cold water for fifteen minutes to cool them quickly. As well as saving you time, this has the added advantage of preventing them continuing to cook and the unpleasant discoloration from forming around the outside of the yolk.
The skin should peel fairly easily from your smoked mackerel fillet and should be discarded. Using your fingers, flake the fillet in to fairly small pieces, feeling as you do so for any remaining small bones. Seed and moderately finely dice the red chili. Cut the hard boiled eggs in half length ways.
Pour the milk or cream in to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a teaspoon to carefully pop the set yolk portions from the egg halves and add them also to the bowl. Mash the yolks in to the milk with the back of the spoon - or with a fork if you find it easier - until you have formed a smooth paste.
Pour the extra virgin olive oil in to the bowl with the egg yolk paste, along with half of the lime juice. Stir well to combine as best you can. Don't worry if it doesn't combine perfectly at this stage.
The egg whites should now be roughly chopped to around a similar size to the smoked fish flakes.
Add the chopped egg whites, smoked fish and diced or sliced chili to the bowl with the egg yolk paste. Season with a little bit of black pepper but in this instance the smoked mackerel provided all the salt required.
Stir fold carefully to combine as you want to avoid breaking up the fish flakes and egg whites any further. Taste, adjust the seasoning if required and stir fold again.
There are any number of ways in which it is possible to peel and remove the stone from an avocado, especially if you perhaps intend mashing the flesh. In that case, it wouldn't make any difference in how many pieces you remove it from the stone or what size those pieces are. In this instance, though, the flesh will be evenly chopped so it is important to separate it cleanly from both the stone and the skin.
Sit the thickest end of the avocado on a chopping board and use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut down through the top center until you meet the resistance of the stone. Holding the knife still, twist the avocado away from you with your other hand until you have essentially cut all the way around the stone and the flesh and skin in half. Carefully lift the knife up and free and twist the two halves of the avocado in opposite directions to separate.
Wrap your weaker hand with a thick towel to protect it in case of accident and sit the avocado half bearing the stone in your palm, stone uppermost. Bring the blade of the knife down moderately firmly to embed it in the stone. A simple twist of the knife should cause the stone to pop free in one piece.
Use a teaspoon to part the avocado flesh and skin until you are left with two skinless and stoneless avocado halves. Chop to around three-quarter inch pieces and add them to a clean bowl. Add the juice of the second half of the lime and season with a little salt and pepper. Turn the avocado around in the lime juice to prevent it oxidizing and discoloring.
Spoon the avocado on to one half of a serving plate and arrange the smoked fish and egg salad alongside. Only at this stage should you roll and shred the basil leaves before scattering them over the top of the dish as a final garnish.