The CSF previewed on this blog over the summer
has arrived, and it is delivering great happiness to our home. Called Walking Fish
and started by a group of Duke students at the Nicholas School
, it is now delivering fish caught by North Carolina fishermen to members once a week. (Shares are sold out; watch the site for opportunities for next year.)
CSF stands for “community sponsored fishery.” It works much like a CSA (community sponsored agriculture), in which you purchase a “share” in advance and receive weekly deliveries. (We pick ours up at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.) The advantage for the fishery is that they are guaranteed a certain level of income. The advantage for us is fresh fish at a decent price. For $11.67 per week, Fred and I receive between 1 and 2 pounds of fish, or roughly $7.78 per pound.
Fred forgot to pick up the first week’s delivery, but I have begun to forgive him. After that disaster, however, we have so far received shrimp, yellow-bellied spot, and mullet
which we prepared like this
The side dishes are mashed potatoes with roasted squash, zuchhini, onion, and tomatoes. But those are unimportant. The important thing here is that the fish is GRILLED–deliciously, beautifully, wonderfully grilled.
My days of embarassingly inept grilling may be drawing to a close. Thanks to a Saturday spent watching my friend Bebe, an expert griller, prepare salmon, I quickly discovered a painfully obvious reason for my failures.
I was excited when Bebe invited me over for fish one Saturday, and even more excited when I realized I’d have a chance to watch someone who knew what she was doing work the grill. I had planned to watch her technique closely: how she laid out the fire, whether or not she covered it, how much she opened the vents once lid was put on.
I stood in her backyard, wine glass in hand, ready to take notes as she gathered her charcoal and implements.
“I’m really glad I have the chance to watch you do this,” I said. “I just can’t figure out why I can’t get my food to cook right on the grill.”
“Well, there’s nothing to it,” she said. (All grillers say that, but if there were nothing to it, poor Fred would not have suffered through multiple servings of simultaneously charred and raw steaks.)
“Maybe for you,” I said, and blathered on as I watched: “I wonder if I’m putting the lid on too soon? Oh–I see you’re opening those vents underneath. I do that too, but it doesn’t seem to matter. And you’re using self-lighting charcoal–well, we can’t do that with our grill because it has the option of using a propane tank to light the charcoal and if we ever want to do that we can’t use the self-lighting grill or we’ll blow ourselves and the entire neighborhood sky-high.”
Then she put a pile of charcoal on the grill. A big pile.
“You use THAT MUCH charcoal?”
“Yeah, you need to make a pretty big fire. And it needs to get hot–wait until the flames die down and all the embers are red.”
So for the mullet, I got me a big pile of charcoal–roughly three times what I’d been using before. I completely filled that damn starter and fired ‘er up. And the mullet was great.