Get It and Grill It

Hunting can be a good-news, bad-news scenario, depending on whether you are the hunter or the huntee. Take, for example, the 21-foot-long South African crocodile that hunted and caught a young springbok that was drinking at the river.

(Good news for the croc.)

If my buddy Steve had been along on this hunt, the croc could have dined on the delicate little springbok with a nice bottle of chilled white wine and still had plenty of room left for an old flea-bitten zebra or two.

But the sad fact is the crocodile itself was, in turn, hunted by a member of the next group, only slightly higher up the food chain, and was subsequently “braiied” (a South African word for “barbecued”).

(Bad news for the croc.)

Whether or not you eat the entire springbok – or crocodile – at one sitting, it is a good idea to prepare a snappy little mango papaya salsa on the side.

Now, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest – and it is difficult to argue with such an august group of individuals – the papaya ranks as one of the Top 5 Fantastic Fruits.

Everyone knows the other four fruits on this elite list are the guava, watermelon, grapefruit and the fuzzy, green-fleshed kiwi.

These stunning findings are based on the daily percentage of Vitamin C, folate, potassium, iron, calcium and the fibre plus carotenoids they contain. This breaking news must have made the lucky members of the Hawaiian Papaya Growers Association very happy.

When we were in the Cook Islands, we grilled a lot of tuna because we could not afford to eat in restaurants after Air Canada was finished with us. But we could afford to buy papayas and mangos, which fortunately were in season at the local roadside market.

To make a nice salsa, gently toss one cup of diced mango, one cup of diced papaya, one tablespoon of virgin olive oil, one-half-cup diced red pepper, one-quarter-cup finely chopped red onion, one finely chopped and seeded jalapeño, one-quarter-cup fresh chopped cilantro and two tablespoons of lime juice. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.

My buddy Steve’s grilled fish is so bad, his cat is down to its last two lives.

But I really should remember that old Scottish saying: “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, after you have criticized them, you are a mile away with their shoes.”

While you are preparing to grill your tuna, whip up a refreshing non-alcoholic drink by mixing two ounces of tonic water, three ounces of orange juice and three ounces of cranberry juice. If you find yourself running away with the moment, the option of adding just a splash or two of gin or vodka, later, is there for you.

According to the B.C. Tuna Fishermen’s Association, to be a deckhand you need a B.C. driver’s license (presumably to drive the boat), basic cooking and a criminal record check.

I suppose that means if you have been in trouble with the police over off-putting food preparation practices while driving illegally, you will not be considered for the position.

At any rate, tuna is a lean fish and can easily dry out on the grill. Coat the chunky fish steaks with a tablespoon of virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill a one-inch-thick piece over high heat four to five minutes per side, flipping only once.

Place the sizzling tuna steak on a plate with a heaping helping of Mango Papaya Salsa on the side before regaling your captive audience with more adventure stories.

Although Yukon-grown mango and papaya supplies are limited, remember to buy locally as often as possible.

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