Croatia: Freshly-caught, still smelling of the sea

Our salt-of-the-earth lighthouse keeper went out fishing almost every day*. On our second day we happened upon him as he was unloading his catch and we chose these two fishy beauties for our dinner. Have no idea what type of fish they are, but the red one in particular was delicious. He gutted them for us (thank goodness) and we grilled them in the little wood-fired oven standing out the back of the lighthouse, using driftwood and branches we had collected earlier that afternoon. I parboiled some potatoes and wrapped them in foil and we roasted them in the embers of the fire (these potatoes, which had looked so terrible in the shop that I could barely bring myself to buy them – dirty, knobbly and shrunken – turned out to to the most fantastic-tasting potatoes I have had in a long time, with dense yellow flesh that was firm, flavoursome and sweet when cooked, not watery and pale like usual).
We all reeked of smoke by the time the fish was cooked, and Bruno had burns all up and down his arms, but it was an absolute feast, heartened surely by the salty breeze, the glowing sunset and the deserted surrounds.

* He contributed some fresh calamari to our dinner a few days later. Poor Bruno got the job of skinning, cleaning and preparing it! But that story is for another day…


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