The WWF SASSI Trailblazer awards is a cause so close to my heart! We have had the privilege of attend the last four years’ events to cheer along the great chefs in the restaurant industry who are prioritising sustainability in their kitchens! SASSI is not looking to curb out love for seafood (fun fact: 312million kilos of seafood is consumed annually in SA each year) but help consumers make informed choices! BUT the best way to help consumers make good choices is to take those “less sustainable” seafood options straight of the menu and avoid any confusion!

The WWF SASSI Trailblazer Chefs are doing just that – they’re creating dishes and shaping menus to help us make good choices!

So, obviously what I am saying, is by dining at a restaurant who’s received a WWF SASSI Trailblazer award – you’re PRETTY MUCH saving the environment. Only joking. Not really. Make good choices folks!

SASSI Trailblazer awards

Do you know about the SASSI List?

I’m so sure you all know about the SASSI List but just humour me for one moment! SASSI has created a carefully thought out list of all the seafood available in SA and classified them as “Green”, “Orange” and “Red” which coincide with your understanding of the traffic lights “Go Ahead”, “Think Twice” and “Don’t fucking do it”. I paraphrased the last one – they technically say “Don’t buy” but mine is better. Just not family friendly. They have a fabo app to look up any fish you come across, a pocket guide (for your dad) and many many resources online. So now we know – fish is fantastic – but let’s be making the right choices with help from SASSI.

2020 being what it was – the celebration has sadly been put on pause! But fabulous chefs are still working hard behind the scenes and with the true cluster fuck that has been 2020 – we are relying on restaurants more and more to bring the joy.

And so in the year of our lord 2020 – we have gone digital!

Which means: you get a blogpost, I get a box of wonderful ingredients and a delicious dinner AND we all get a new recipe to try out with a “Green” list friendly seafood option!

Winners of this years WWF SASSI Trailblazer awards are:

  • Andrew Atkinson from Shalati
  • Neill Anthony from La Mouette
  • Judi Fourie from Pilcrow & Cleaver
  • Jamie Friedberg from Between Us
  • Christina Semczyszyn from Tjing Tjing
  • Jess Van Dyk from Protege

I know Neill Anthony personally and I love La Mouette – absolute gem in Sea Point! Tjing Tjing was won of my best meals of 2020 and wowza Christina Semczyszyn is too cool! We have visited Protégé and whilst the food was wonderful we waited over an hour between each round of “small plates” so we got supremely over it.

Shalati, Pilcrow & Cleaver and Between Us are new restaurants to me – and I look forward to following along!

Shall we get into the food now?

I received ingredients and a recipe for smoked snoek pâté and I was kinda like… yeah okay. I know about snoek pâté – nothing fancy here. I’m so delighted and surprised to share that I have now hand written and included this gorgeous recipe in my personal recipe folder and I am so looking forward to making it in years to come! This recipe is from Christina Semczyszyn from Tjing Tjing – so I should have KNOWN it would be wonderful!

Cheesy Smoked Snoek Dip

Ingredients:
  • 200g smoked snoek, flaked
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon plain yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 a cup sea lettuce or wilted baby spinach
  • 1/4 a cup grated parmesan

SASSI Trailblazer awards

How to:
Lightly brown the onion in the oil and let cool.
Squeeze all the liquid out of the sea lettuce/spinach and lightly chop.
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the parmesan, in a bowl, mixing thoroughly. Season to taste.
Warm the dip lightly in the microwave or a pot on the stove.
Divide the mix into ramekins and sprinkle the parmesan on top. Brown the tops of the dip under a grill or using a blowtorch.

Now let’s talk through a couple of things because you know I can’t leave well enough alone. 

  1. You need to get your smoked snoek from somewhere wonderful. As this dish is mostly snoek you’re not going to get away with less than perfect fish. Our snoek was from Julie Carter behind Ocean Jewels Fish in Woodstock. She is a massive proponent of sustainable seafood and fishing practive and you can trust you’re in good hands. They deliver seafood every week in Cape Town and the surrounding areas so you don’t even need to leave your home to SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!
  2. I very obviously did not use sea lettuce because a) I don’t like it and b) it can’t be found at my local checkers. Baby spinash is all good – don’t stress about it. BIG handful of baby spinach in a bowl, pour boiling water over the top, swirl and drain and then “tada” you have wilted spinach ready to go.
  3. I added the juice of about half a lemon – really think the brightness and acidity of the lemon gave the dish a lift!
  4. Important when making such a lovely dish at home to crack open a bottle of wine! We were gifted this bottle of wine from Spier who are a WWF – SA Conservation Champion.
  5. We also used Funky Oumas seafood salt. This isn’t mandatory but they make such wonderful salts and lovely to support a local family own business!
  6. And whilst the parmesan topping is so delicious and really kicks the dish up a notch – if you’re looking to keep the cost down and avoid turning the oven on feel free to skip this step.

SASSI Trailblazer awards

But babe, why are we seeing mussels?

We were SUPER spoilt with a fresh kilo of the most gorgeous mussels. I have wanted to make mussels at home for the longest time and was so excited with how easy it was! I don’t really have a recipe because I mostly winged it but I will give you a rough outline.

  • Clean and de-beard the mussels. This involves scrubbing the outside of the shell and yanking on the scruffy beard looking thing until it pulls loose. Then lots of rinsing in water. Discard any broken shelled mussels (we had none!).
  • In your pot, soften three shallots or one white onion, three crushed garlic cloves, sliced red chili and a sliced red pepper.
  • When everything is softened down, pour in about half a cup of white wine, zest and juice of one lemon, a cup of cream and all the mussels.
  • Stir together, pop the lid on and they’re ready when all the shells open up. You just kinda peek until they all look open!
  • Then – and this is my MAGIC TRICK – add two teaspoons of dried tumeric for that amazing golden colour and a small handful of chopped parsley.
  • Serve with slices of hot bread and lemon on the side for extra ZING!

I so hope you have enjoyed this blog post!

First in pretty much a year and first of 2020! Who knows maybe I will do something crazy and share ANOTHER blog post before the year is done.
In conclusion – cook more seafood at home – these recipes were super easy and super delicious! But makes sure you’re making sustainable choices and only cooking seafood on the SASSI approved “Green” list!
Disclaimer: We were gifted these beautiful ingredients by WWF SASSI as part of their effort to share the WWF SASSI Trailblazer awards to get more people on board with this initiative. However all images, opinions and mucking up a professional chef’s recipe are my own!

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