So let’s face it. Times are tough and pennies are few. That’s no secret. But I’m not about to let that get between me and a tasty meal! Both in budget and in environmental matters, reducing meat consumption (particularly beef) has been a pretty big goal for me, using smaller portions more for flavour in a pot once in a while rather than as the ‘main event’ of a dish (as we’re often want to do). I have to say though, I’m a self-confessed seafood addict and love absolutely anything that tastes of the ocean! This dish is something of a guilty compromise for me when the craving beckons…
Serves 4 with a side of salad greens
400g chokka heads
1 cup rice
2 handfuls of parsley
1 handful of mint
1 punnet of courgettes
4 cloves of garlic
1 sachet Robertson spice for rice
drizzle of olive oil
block of feta cheese (optional if you’re lactose intolerant)
200ml dry white wine
I like to chop off the main ‘head’ part of the chokka and set aside in a container in the freezer for the stock I make on cold winter nights when I’m struck with a lust for Tom Yum Goong. Then the remaining tentacles go into a lidded oven dish with the zest and juice of 1 lemon and the dry white wine. Next, I chop up 1 handful of the parsley and 2 cloves of garlic and add that to the mix. Then I pop the dish into the oven to slowly ‘poach’ at 150C for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, I finely chop the rest of the parsley and mint and place in a bowl, then zest the remaining lemon and add the zest to the herb mixture, along with the juice of the lemon. Next, I crumble the feta into the bowl and combine the ingredients with a drizzling of olive oil. This is set aside for later.
Then it’s onto the rice. Once the chokka has had its 20 minutes in the oven, I use 1 cup of the residual liquid together with 1 cup of water and the sachet of Robertson’s spice for rice, and bring the rice to the boil on a medium-low heat, depending on your stove top. While this is underway, I heat up my griddle pan with a little bit of butter or cooking oil, ready to give the chokka a good grilling, getting it nice and crispy. In a separate pan, on a medium-high heat, I fry up my slices of courgette, adding the remaining 2 cloves of chopped garlic once the courgette has browned nicely and I’ve reduced the heat.
Once all is said and done, it’s a simple matter of combining all the elements into one sumptuous rice dish, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon!