Monday, 20 June 2011

Fish for Dinner

Sostis had said that he pulled in his net about 8.30 every night. With it still light we watched him motor over to our yacht. He had come to pick up Yanni (my husband was named in honour) to help pull in the net.  The rest of us watched them set off to a spot about 200 metres away.  Next thing they were pulling up the net already. The galley was in readiness,  that is, all as per instruction from Sostis - pan with olive oil, flour to dust the fish and lemon cut - to squeeze over the cooked fish.
The drill was that the fisherboat pulled up alongside and a bucket was handed up from the galley to receive any catch.  Aha - the bucket went up and we couldn't keep up with so many fish! Sostis standing in his boat untangled the fish from the net and they just just kept coming.
Small fish called marida and are cooked whole like sardines. I could only cook about 3 or 4 in each pan load so we worked in shifts and kept going til we must have a hundred fish.  Oh and I had cooked some pasta and cheese remembering that fishing trips do not always result in a sufficiently main course meal!  The pasta superfluous, we had several bowls of delicious lightly-crispy marida, cut slices of lemon, crusty bread and of course, wine. 
With all six of us on deck now it was great fun with so much to eat.  Sostis was very companionable, his tall stories about being chased by 'mahphia' and bad women from earlier in the day now subdued he just laughed about everything.  Kostas really enjoyed the wine and it was the most food I ever saw him eat.
The night sky softened and darkened and then brightened with the stars above us.  There was nothing to disturb our first night out in the Aegean.
We said our goodbyes and watched Sostis putter off in his skiff and waited until he arrived at his landing and through the darkness all waved again.  Going down to our cabins while Kostas turned to his usual nightly attention of securing the moorings and checking the boat we marvelled at this found stranger who had been part of our day with his island, his stories.... and then he provided dinner as well.

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