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Earth Hour: WWF SASSI Sustainable Seafood Challenge.

April 6, 2012

Last week the WWF SASSI team set a challenge under the “If you will, I will” theme for Earth Hour this year. Their challenge was to cook a sustainable seafood dinner in exchange for a concert they will organise. So on Saturday the 31st, we gathered a group of like minded friends to cook up a sustainable storm!

To really showcase the wonderful sustainable seafood options South Africa has to offer, we decided to get everyone involved to cook their own dish to share. Everyone really rose to the challenge and we tucked in to an amazing array of dishes – all using green listed seafood!

Here are some of our recipes:

Yellowtail ceviche with thai flavours

I’ll freely admit that I think that Thai food has the best flavour combinations in the world – that amazing mix of sour, sweet and spicy you just don’t find in anything else. I’ve never had, let alone made ceviche, but with my new found adventurous attitude to seafood, I was keen to try and make it with an Asian twist! No cooking involved but the lemon juice effectively “cooks” the fish, resulting in the most soft and juicy texture once the fish has properly marinaded.


Probably feeds 4-6 as a starter with a mixed lettuce salad – perhaps try with the Asian salad mix from Pick n Pay (Tatsoi etc).

500g yellow tail – sliced into 1/4-1/2 cm thick bitesize pieces.
3 lemons
5 limes
2 stalks of lemon grass
10 leaves of vietnamese coriander (half a handful of normal)
Half an average sized cucumber
1 red onion
2 red chillies


Combine the sliced yellow tail with the juice of the lemons and limes in a large plastic/glass/ceramic bowl. Roughly chop the chillies and coriander, and bash the lemon grass stalks. Mix the chillies, coriander and lemon grass roughly in to the fish and lemon and lime juice and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, making sure the fish is well covered in juice (you may need more or less depending on the quality of your lemons and limes). When ready to serve, thinly slice the cucumber and onion and mix through – add a little more fresh coriander if you like, but I think it can be too over powering.

Baked hake with parmesan and herb crust.

This recipe originally came about because we had an American family visiting and I needed something the parents (who don’t eat meat) and their 6 year old would enjoy! Hake is a really great fish to feed the family, it’s usually filleted so there’s no worry about bones and it’s mildly flavoured – perfect for kids. You can buy MSC certified frozen hake from most supermarkets – very convenient. We got ours (and our yellowtail from Julie who runs Ocean Jewels Fish – check out her blog).

We used two large fillets here – so this would probably feed 4 adults for a main meal. We cut ours up in to small fish fingers.


2 large hake fillets (about 750g)
250g breadcrumbs
6 tbs of grated parmesan
2 tbs of dried mixed herbs and garlic – or substitute fresh garlic, lemon thyme and a little chopped rosemary.
5 tbs flour
1 egg


Mix the breadcrumbs with the parmesan and herbs. Cut the hake up in to appropriate sized fillets. Dip each fillet, flesh side, in to the flour and then in to the beaten egg. Lay on a foil lined baking tray and sprinkle each fillet with a good covering of the breadcrumb mix (1/2 cm thick or so). Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees.

In addition to these new dishes, Ben made our favourite smoked angelfish cakes that I made for my demonstration with SASSI and Birdlife SA last year. You can see the recipe here. These were served, as we usually like to, with a cheats version of tartare sauce with lemon and olive paste.

The lovely Cathy (check out her blog) marinaded some lovely fresh calamari in olive oil, lemon and spices. These were delicious simply griddled and went perfectly with the fantastic side dishes of lemon rice, nutty rice and halloumi and falafel salad made by Raissa, Tim and Brett.

I only ever buy green listed seafood – I don’t think it places any limitation on the delicious meals you can invent and it’s usually cheaper! Check out the WWF SASSI lists here and make your next seafood dish a more sustainable supper! Thanks to everyone who came to dinner for the fantastic food and a great evenings company!

Whilst Janine is an expert on sustainable seafood, we've still yet to figure out quite how to sustain our wine consumption!

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