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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shark and Bake

By Juvy S. Iliwiliw

"Shark and bake," a popular Trinidadian pocket sandwich, is found at beach shacks and street stalls throughout the island. Part of its appeal is the variety of go-withs, from mango chutney to sliced cucumbers. "Bake" is a catchall term for several types of bread, grilled or fried.

Since blacktip shark - the traditional choice - is not readily available, catfish or tilapia fillets are substituted here. Pita pockets are a stand-in for the flatbread that's typically used to make the sandwich.

You will need:

1 pound catfish fillets or tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
3 garlic cloves, minced

1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon minced seeded Scotch bonnet chile or habanero chile

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 pita bread rounds, warmed
Chopped lettuce leaves
Tomato slices

Assorted condiments, such as mango chutney, honey mustard,
garlic mayonnaise, thinly sliced onion, thinly sliced cucumbers, 
and hot pepper sauce

Here's how:

Arrange fish in single layer in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Mix lime juice, green onion, garlic, thyme, and chile in small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon over fish; let stand at room temperature at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish on both sides with salt and pepper, then flour. Working in batches, add fish to skillet and cook until golden and opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fish to paper towels to drain.

Cut off thin slice from each warm pita bread round, forming opening. Open pita pockets and stuff with fish, lettuce, and tomato. Serve with desired condiments.

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