If you live in Cape Town and are like me, craving really fresh seafood then you are in luck. We have a plethora of wonderful seafood home delivery options these days but the most special is from Abalobi. This is an incredible seafood initiative that sells fish directly from the fisherman to the consumer via an app. So from hook to cook in a matter of a few clicks. They were normally only supplying the restaurant industry but with COVID-19 and the lockdown, they have shifted to selling fish directly to consumers in certain areas in Cape Town. I love that the fish travels along a transparent supply chain and is fully traceable back to each small-scale fisher who get a fair price. They focus on fishing sustainable species and lesser know fish like these Silverfish or Carpenter. They sent me two fish to experience the system and have fun in my kitchen. I roasted them whole with punchy Asian flavours of lime, ginger, garlic and soy with a delicious nuoc cham sauce to drizzle over. I made a quick green papaya salad to serve on the side but as these ingredients are difficult to come by, you could just make an easier Asian slaw or other salad of your choice.

Whole roasted silverfish with Asian falvours, nuoc cham & a green papaya salad

Whole roasted silverfish with Asian flavours, nuoc cham & a green papaya salad

After ordering your fish via the App, you will receive prompts and WhatsApp’s alerting you to when the fish will be delivered. When it’s on route, you will receive a call asking you to meet the delivery person at your gate. The fish is delivered packed in ice with zero wasteful polystyrene packaging and you area sked to take it out and put it in your own container. The delivery person practices distancing and sterilizers the container the fish comes. It is so fresh (was literally swimming the day before) so there is zero fishy smell. In fact, I only cooked it 2 days after delivery and it was still completely fresh.

Whole roasted silverfish with Asian flavours, nuoc cham & a green papaya salad

Whole roasted silverfish with Asian flavours, nuoc cham & a green papaya salad

Whole roasted silverfish with Asian flavours, nuoc cham & a green papaya salad

Recipe – Whole roasted silverfish with Asian flavours

  • 2 x whole gutted and scaled carpenters/silverfish
  • 4 sprigs coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1 lime or half a lemon sliced

Garnish: (all optional)

  • Crispy fried shallots (store-bought)
  • Sliced spring onions
  • Fresh coriander
  • Lime wedges

Basting sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Small piece of ginger grated

Nuoc cham dipping sauce

  • 3Tbsp tbsp fish sauce
  • 3Tbs tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2Tbspfresh lemon juice
  • 50 gm caster sugar
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped

Papaya salad – you could follow my recipe here or just simplify it by using shredded papaya and carrots and sprinkle over sliced spring onion or shallots, fresh coriander, basil (or Thai basil) and mint leaves, and chopped up roasted salted peanuts. You could also scale up the nuoc cham dipping sauce as above and use some of that to dress the salad. Or here is a recipe for a delicious easy Asian slaw and dressing.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line a baking tray with parchment. Cut a few diagonal slits into the flesh of the fish and mix up the basting ingredients. Liberally brush the fish with this basting inside the cavity and on either side making sure to get into the grooves. Fill each cavity with 2 sprigs of coriander, a sliced garlic clove and a couple of slices of limes. Season with salt and pepper and roast with 25 minutes until cooked.

While the fish is roasting mix up the nuoc cham sauce and make the salad.

Serve the fish whole on a platter garnished with crispy onions, sliced shallots/spring onions, fresh coriander and the nuoc cham drizzled over and served on the side.

*This recipe would work with a variety of fish species

More about Silverfish / Carpenter

Lemons & limes



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  1. Poly-horn

    If I die I want to look like that fish on 4th photo

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