The sounds of waves crashing and gulls screeching. The smells of salt and fishy air. Bright sun and hot sand.
This week’s dish managed to conjure up these sensations and imagery as I ate, transporting me away from the city. So if you’re feeling chilly, and not in Senegal like me, whip up this fresh Senegalese dish and try to pretend your kitchen is actually a beach!
This dish, Caldo, was a new one to me when I had it just a few days ago. My counterpart made it for our lunch and graciously accommodated my extensive picture-taking.
Apparently this is a Djola dish; the Djola are an ethnic group from the the Cassamance region of Senegal, to the south of the Gambia. To make it you cook up a lemony-tomatey onion sauce with fish and serve with rice.
1. Chop many onions and several tomatoes.
2. Prepare your fish and cut it into several large pieces. Marinate these pieces in lemon juice and some salt.
3. In a mortar and pestle pound peppercorns, salt, garlic, and bouillon.
4. Add the onions and tomatoes and pound until well-mushed and combined.
5. Heat oil in a pot. Add the onion/tomato mixture and cook. This will be the sauce of your Caldo. Add some water if it starts getting dry.
6. After the sauce has cooked down a bit add the fish and continue cooking.
7. Cook rice separately.
8. Spoon the sauce and fish over a big platter of rice. The picture below also includes bissap sauce, which is a tangy condiment made from a hibiscus relative grown here in Senegal.
I’m sending some of our hot season warmth (HEAT) and sun to you all!