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Archive for November, 2009

Grilled Fish and Rice with Roasted Bananas

November 20, 2009  |  Other  |  No Comments

One of the first purchases we made in Senegal was a grill, and though we did not use it as often as we expected, we did manage some really great grilled fish, with roasted bananas for dessert afterwards.

The main difficulty with the grill was the wind coming off the ocean. It was strong and constant enough that it made it very difficult to get the charcoal started. I never had enough room in my luggage to bring back a good chimney starter, though in hindsight I could probably had had one made from some rebar and old tomato paste cans. Something to remember for next time.

You can use almost any type of fish. Some of my favorites that were easily available were barracuda, capitane, and dorade. I always slike grilling whole fish, but with barracuda fillets are sometimes easier.

1 fish per person
1 lime for every two fish
1 small onion per lime
Olive oil
Leftover rice. We usually had some from the little restaurant down the street where I got lunch.
Bananas (for dessert)

Start your charcoal so that the grill is nice and hot by the time you have the fish ready to go.

Clean the fish (if you did not get them cleaned at the fish market – really that is much easier and I highly recommend it) and rinse them off. Pat dry and rub inside and out with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt inside and out, and pepper inside only.

Chop up one of the onions and one of the limes into 1cm pieces and put a bit of that mixture into each fish.

Slice the remaining onions into rounds and place on the grill. These will char a bit. It’s okay. Set the rice in a pan over low heat to warm up.

Grill the fish for about 5 minutes per side, depending on the distance from the coals and the size of the fish. Try to time it so you can turn them only once, as they will be fragile after they start to cook.

Serve the onions and fish over the rice, with wedges of the remaining limes. Before sitting down to eat, toss some bananas, peels still on, into the coals. By the time you have finished dinner they will be charred on the outside and lovely inside.

Aubergine and Onion Gnocchi

November 5, 2009  |  Equipment  |  1 Comment

This is definitely a Casino recipe, as opposed to most of the others I have posted so far which could be made with things from any of the local markets. But you have to go to Casino from time to time. Where else will you randomly run into every expat you know on a Saturday afternoon? You will still need to stop by your favorite vegetable stand too. No need to pay 5000fcfa for an eggplant. Plus, it is always good to stay in touch. After being away for a few weeks the woman from my usual vegetable stand chased after me in the street one day to ask why I had stopped buying tomatoes.

This became one of my default meals when cooking at home, which, when coupled daily lunches of thieboudienne, explains why I did not lose weight during my second year in Senegal like I did during my first.


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 or 3 medium red onions, sliced into half-rings.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 package of bacon pieces. I guess about 8 ounces.
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 pound of gnocchi
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Set a pot of salted water to boil and put a large frying pan over high heat. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch (1cm) thick slabs. Fry the eggplant in a liberal amount of olive oil until they are dark brown on both sides. You can tell when they are cooked, because in the first few minutes they will soak up all the oil in the pain, and when they are ready they will release back most of it.

Remove the eggplant and set aside. Into the still-hot pan, throw the onions. Move them around a lot and let them start to cook down. When they get a bit of color on them, move them to the edges of the pan and throw the bacon in. You don’t want it to steam, so make sure the onions give it room.

While the bacon is cooking, chop the cooked eggplant into 1cm strips. When the bacon is cooked and the onion is just starting to burn, add the eggplant back and pour in the cream. Also put the gnocchi in the water.

When the cream has thickened a bit, and the gnocchi has started to float, turn off all the burners. Add the cheese and the drained gnocchi to the onion and eggplant mixture. Salt to taste, then add a lot of pepper!