Time yet again slips by and I do not seem to be able to get anything written down whilst I am working cleaning out my food lockers, stock taking the dry stores I have onboard and then of course defrosting the freezers and my least favourite of jobs doing the accounts … I seem to get the tiniest of receipts at the markets for fruits and vegetables, breads and meats etc and the fish ones are always damp as they get placed inside with the fish or prawns etc so by the time I pick them out once back onboard they are hard to read sometimes let alone smell after a few hours !!

I discovered the big market in Cagliari with my cousin the other day which was great… what a fish market! wow I know they farm fish in this area so all the Branzino, sea bass and Dorade, sea bream are all generally farmed and you can tell as they are all the same size lying in a neat pile on the cool tiles in the basement fish market. There are of course the mussels, and clams that are also farmed and then other fish that are not the lobsters, crabs, and prawns that are so red it is hard to believe they are not cooked. They sell small shrimp which are pale pink and almost similar to those you can get in the Dodecanese, Greece such as Rhodes where they are pan-fried and eaten crispy with the skins on … delicious. They are so expensive there as they are only found very deep around a small island idyllic island called Symi and you can enjoy them at my closets friends restaurant in the old town in Rhodes, Nireas Taverna, where I have to say I learnt how to cook them. Theo’s mother a wonderful lady and her husband taught me many ways to prepare true traditional Greek food and these shrimp are just great as a snack, starter or to go with a crisp salad as a lunch dish… I such fond memories of her cooking away at their home or in the restaurant she was such an interesting woman with some incrediable stories of her life.

Here in Sardinia these shrimp are so cheap I was blown away 6 euros a kilo ! so of course they were snapped up quickly and 1.5 kilos for lunch would be suitable for the crew onboard I felt… especially with me eating as I devour these with gusto! Then I spot razor clams… oh for another lunch as I had also bought baby octopus which I was going to prepare so we are on for a seafood lunch which everyone will enjoy
Symi Shrimp

Raw Symi Shrimp

1kg small shrimp

1 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic sliced

1 1/2 tablesp red Tabasco

salt

Prepare the shrimp by removing the heads ( if you so wish) I prefer to remove the heads now as you can then eat the shrimps in one go with your fingers ! Also remove the long tenticales that tend to just get in the way whilst cooking !Rinse them gently and drain well.

Place a couple of tablesp of olive oil in a large frying pan and heat adding some of the garlic slices and allow to cook slightly before adding a layer of shrimps. Do not put too many in as it is better to cook them in batches rather than in one go as then you will not get them crispy enough to enjoy. Allow them to cook and crisp up on one side before turning or shaking the pan to turn the shrimp and cook again on the other side to crisp up. Sprinkle with a couple of shakes of the Tabasco bottle and also some salt.  Taste for seasoning and add more if you wish of the Tabasco or salt. Make sure the shrimp are crispy before removing them and keeping them warm whilst you cook the next batches.

Enjoy whole …. shell and all !
As for the baby octopus, Moscadini…. I cook these with a cherry tomato sauce or ragu. I was told by the fisherman that I should just cook them for 10 mins in some red wine with parsley, garlic and salt ! A typical southern Sardinian way of preparing these small octopus I was then told by my cousin but the way I prepare them is more a northern Sardinian dish or even from the mainland.  I was fortunate to buy the octopus cleaned as it makes it much easier and less time-consuming for making this dish !

My tomato sauce consisted of cherry tomatoes, garlic, wine, bay leaves, a small stick of celery and a small carrot both of which were removed quite quickly so they did not overpower the sauce, and also a pinch of fennel seeds. Salt and pepper of course. I had cooked this down for an hour and half before I was satisfied with it and then added the baby octopus for 10 – 15 mins and served with crusty bread and a crisp salad… delish!

I will get back to the market stall where they sold those baby shrimp this week as I must have more ! and also to take some photos whilst I am there as it really was a great market and one to explore especially with some of the other fish they had there…


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