Inspired by our Northern Territory episode, the following recipe is cooked on an open fire. It is meant to be prepared outside with friends. The fire should be lit ahead of time and once the flames have calmed down and you have some hot coals, you are ready to start cooking. Wattleseed is an Aboriginal Australian ingredient that is made from the seeds of the acacia tree. It has a wonderful nutty, coffee-like flavor and is available on-line or at specialty grocers.
For the yams, lay out 5 small sheets of aluminum foil on a table. Put the yams on top of each piece of foil and season with salt and wattleseed. Wrap the yams in the foil, and place on the hot coals. The yams will need to cook for about 40 minutes.
For the fish, lay the bark out, unfolded on a large table. Lay the fish on top and season inside the cavity, and outside with salt and wattleseed. Stuff the cavity with the Thai basil. Wrap the fish in the bark, folding the sides in so that the juice released during cooking won’t leak out. Gently place the fish on hot coals of the fire. Shovel a few of the hot coals on top of the wrapped fish as well. This will need to cook for about 30-40 minutes
To make the citrus vierge, combine the pomelo, finger lime, ginger, and shallot into a mortar. Use the pestle to bruise the citrus and mix everything together. Set aside
Check the fish by inserting a cool metal skewer into the top of the fish and leaving it in for 5 seconds. Once removed, the skewer should be hot to the touch. The yams can also be checked with the skewer. When the yams are poked with the skewer, there should be no resistance. Remove the fish and the yams from the fire carefully with tongs. Unwrap the fish and the yams and discard the foil and bark (The bark will still be smoldering, so be sure to place it back in the fire or in a safe area). Carefully remove the skin from the top of the fish to reveal the flesh.
Serve family style around the campfire. The citrus vierge can be spooned over the fish as it is put onto each person’s plate.
6 wild yams or long, deep orange or scarlet sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons wattleseed
1, 5-6 lb. Barramundi, cleaned and scaled
2 tablespoons wattleseed
1 large piece of paperbark, big enough to fully wrap the fish (This will need to be soaked for 45 minutes in water until it is fully saturated)
½ bunch Thai basil
Fine sea salt
1 Pomelo, pulp only
5 finger limes, pulp only
1 tablespoon minced, fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Extra virgin olive oil