A flying shoal of dried fish

You’re driving on an empty road outside of town. From afar you spot something fishy dangling in the air…Do you keep going so as to get closer or do you stop?

What if stories of people spotting weird animals in the countryside pop in your head? You can’t help but ask yourself when exactly fishes learned to breathe outside of water, right?

After all, from where you are, these animals threaded to one another look like a shoal of fish. Better yet, a flying school of fish!

Truth is if you’re already on a road trip, your spirit of adventure will keep you going. You’re inner curiosity will drive you to get closer as fast as you can just to get a better look at what you’re trying to convince yourself is simply an optical illusion. And rightfully so.

As you drive up to your flying fishes, you’ll realize that you were wrong. What looked like hanging fish skeletons were simply dried fishes awaiting you to take them home for a great meal.

You’ll silently laugh at yourself for allowing your mind to wander off that far. You’ll let your foodie spirit guide you as well. You’ll pull up on the side of the road just to inquire about the fish drying process.

That’s what we did a few months ago my cousin, sister and I. We stopped to have a chat with dried fish vendors on our drive through Marigot, a town right outside of Jacmel in the South-East of Haiti.

The vendors explained that they were simply resellers. These fish are not actually a Marigot specialty. They come from the nearby coastal town of Belle Anse. Vendors head there on a regular basis during peak season to purchase dried salted fish that they hang that way on the roadside to lure in potential buyers like us.

Though they are not involved in the drying process, we learned a great deal from these sellers. They taught us that the fish is cleaned of its organs and shucked before being salted and hung outside to dry.

We also got a quick cooking class. Much like aransò and codfish, our dried fish must be desalted before cooking. The best way to eat it is with a sauce Ti Malice and boiled vivres, preferably yams or plantains.

I have yet to try the recipe they gave me but as soon as I do, I promise to share it with you here. In the meantime, you can definitely try my mother’s codfish in oil recipe found here on this blog. Let me know how you like it.

Also, remember this. If one day, you run into a shoal of flying fish on one of our roadsides, don’t run screaming for the hills. They’re just dried fish hanging there to catch your attention in hopes you’ll include them on your menu 😉

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