With the help of our guides at El Camino Travel, we head out to catch our own Nicaraguan seafood (and eat it, too)
Jun 12, 2015 | By Liv Combe
Our captain clambered up the ladder and into the small boat, holding a spear gun and a fish he'd plucked straight from the Pacific. He grabbed a knife, a cutting board, a lime, and a small container ofsalsa verde made earlier that day. Boom — five minutes later, ceviche. That’s about as fresh as it gets.
Have you ever gone out and caught your own fish? Actually, you probably have, so let me rephrase that — have you ever gone out on a fishing boat with El Camino Travel, manned by local fishermen from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and caught your own fish? Not yet. But you really, really should.
The Pacific Ocean nestles against Nicaragua’s western coast, where the warm waters have made for great fishing for generations. On a larger scale, the industry took off in the early 1900s, when the Japanese came over and begin fishing the sharks and shrimp out of the crescent-shaped bay of San Juan del Sur; this, of course, soon resulted in overfishing, and those who had a vested interest in the operation’s moneymaking moved on. The locals, though, had been fishing long before it became a larger industry, selling fish at the markets and bringing it home to feed their families.
Three styles are popular: handlining, trolling (for larger, more commercial fishing), and spear fishing. Handlining is the most common, since you can do it from shore or out on the water, and is a relatively easy way to catch enough fish to take home for dinner that night — or sell at the San Juan del Sur fish market, which is exactly where we bought our dinner: lobster, pulled out of the ocean earlier that morning.
That night, we headed back to our homebase of Maderas Village, where the kitchen whipped up a feast of grilled lobster tails, mashed potatoes, and carrot salad — the perfect meal after a long day on a boat.
Want to travel with El Camino? You're in luck — they've got three trips to Nicaragua coming up this year. Find out more and book here.
Thanks to the folks at Maderas Village for providing the recipe.
What you'll need:
4 lobster tails, about four ounces each
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
4 ounces butter
Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
What you'll do:
Prepare the garlic butter sauce by placing the butter in a small pan and heating it over the stovetop at medium heat. Add in one minced garlic clove and stir. Keep the sauce warm as you prepare the lobster tails.
For the lobster tails, fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium so the water is simmering. Place in the lobster tails and boil for two minutes.
Remove the tails and place on a cutting board, bottom up. Using a sharp knife, cut the tails in half; use clean kitchen scissors to cut through the shell if necessary. Brush the flesh of the lobster tail with garlic butter sauce and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pepper, and paprika.
Oil the grill generously to prevent sticking. Heat the grill and place the lobster tails on the grill meat-side down. Cook the lobster tails for four to five minutes, then rotate so the shell side is on the grill. Cook for an additional three to five minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and firm. Brush the tails with more garlic butter and serve. [H]