June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
I have been unable to get maasbanker bokkoms for a number of weeks now. Slight panic.
But landing a batch of fresh maasbanker (trachurus capensis or trachurus delagoa) from a fish shop in Velddrif, I decided to practice a little ‘self-preservation’ for the survival of “bokkoms on toast”, that Oep ve Koep staple.
The word ‘bokkom’ (from Dutch ‘bokking’ for salted or smoked herring) actually refers to the technique of salting and air-drying fish, rather than the type of fish itself.
Leipoldt writes that any type of fish can be used to make bokkoms – his personal favourite, stompneus. I have grown to like maasbanker bokkom because of its slightly more fatty, meatier flesh and perfect ‘plate size’ when filleted. I much prefer it to the traditional harder bokkom.
To make bokkoms, the fresh, whole fish is pickled in a brine of equal parts salt and water – I added some lemon zest – and it’s then left to soak for a minimum of twelve hours. The fish is rinsed and then hung in the sun to dry until it becomes winddroog (wind dry). In rainy winter weather, this is where a biltong maker comes in really handy.
Keeping with the preserving qualities of salt (and I’m lucky enough to have an abundance of all-natural, hand-harvested local snoeksout) I also decided to try and capture what the season’s lemons have to offer, by packing them into jars with peppercorns, coriander and bay leaf.
Score the lemons crossways, stopping about 1cm from the base. Rub salt into the cuts, reshape, and jam-pack into a glass jar. Add black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cloves, bay leaf and a pinch of sugar. Cover with lemon juice and leave for at least a month. Rinse before use.
I look forward to trying some of this versatile condiment with steamed waterblommetjies or veldkoolbredie. And perhaps with a piece of homemade maasbanker bokkom, breaded and lightly fried in butter.