Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Cook an Uhu - or Kauai Leftovers

I finally got up the nerve to plug the external hard drive into this computer to download the last of the Kauai pictures off the camera, and to try to get them online. I've been having lots of problems with the external drive this year. Odd since it hummed along quite nicely for the first two years. Mr. B, the tech guru at our house, suspects an incompatibility between my old school XP system and the newer drive, but I just don't buy it. (If that were the case, why would it take two years to act up?) Whatever the case, the crashes are frightening to a woman who treasures photographic memories, and who has yet to catch up on her photo printing project. (Seriously, is ANYONE really caught up with printing?)

Finally, I can post the "leftover" images!

I can't believe I didn't post the photos from the Wailua River kayak with E's brief post. Here are the thousands of "words" that were supposed to run with her poem and story. (It stinks to try to get your words down with a keyboard when you're not quite a keyboard master yet.)

After our paddle, I cooked up the Uhu (Scarus rubroviolaceus) using a recipe and instructions for scaling I found online. The recipe was the same of that repeated to me time and time again as I asked locals for how they would prep the fish (once they got past exclaiming, wide-eyed, "you got a Uhu?!") I made a few alterations (I used lemons instead of lemon grass, and butter instead of mayonnaise, plus omitted the spicy sauce for lack of supply).

A local also told me that since I didn't have a scaler on hand, I could just use my thumbs to press the scales from tail to head. "They just come right off," he swore. Um...yeah...that probably works if you've got some experience. My 'uhu impersonated his flying cousin and ended up on the floor. I resorted to using a spoon, the locals' other suggestion. I also learned that removing scales starting at the head and working backward toward the tail worked a LOT better than starting at the tail, and that while the IDEA of scaling the fish underwater so scales wouldn't fly everywhere was nice, it was far more effective to just take the pot outside, slosh around while scaling, then rinse the deck of random flying fragments once the process was complete. (Oh yeah, and take a shower and wash the sarong I was wearing during the carnage.)

The end result was a delightful main course for dinner in the shack. The meat was incredibly tender, juicy and surprisingly not a bit "fishy." I'd say fresh trout, which I LOVE, tastes more fishy than the 'uhu, and can't even compete for juiciness.

The locals who provided this scrumptious meal caught their fish and lobster by hand while snorkeling after dark. ("It's easier to catch 'em while they sleep!") They assured me there were NO shark in the bay they frequent. This was a great fish, but snorkeling in the dark, on the outside of the reef, and reaching into dark holes. Sounds crazy to me!

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