Give thanks and fishes…
In a previous post, I talked up the fish feast we had a few years ago in honor of Chuseok, a Korean tradition of giving thanks for harvest and honoring our ancestors, and how it was the beginning of a new tradition for me as my family did not celebrate this holiday when I was growing up.
This year, I decided that a gathering that included my friends along with the Old Ladies would be a fine way to show thanks to the living while honoring the memory of those who have passed. My best friend, Tabatha and her husband, Tony, came down to Brooklyn from the wilds of New Jersey to break bread. Tab and I have known each other since we were 9 years old. She’s seen me at my most crabby-spazziest, I’ve seen her at her most dorky-spazziest, both of us knowing there’ll be no judgement or ridicule from the other…for the most part!
So my new Chuseok tradition reflects change and flexibility. Yes, traditions can remain respectful of their history and be forward thinking at the same time––like adding friendship to the roster of what you’re thankful for and putting fish on the menu.
Three good reasons for an ever-pescatarian menu: 1) The Boyfriend is in charge of fish prep! Gutting, scaling and grilling the sardines!
And readying the red snapper with thyme, lemon, and garlic!
2) Your friends and Old Ladies may not be actual carnivores and prefer a fishy diet.
3) Grilled fish is delicious!
Making an effort to bring Chuseok into my life is one way to honor my father’s memory. Having passed in 2006 he can’t physically be at the Chuseok table, but I hope his spirit can sense the care and work that went into setting it.
Grilled Red Snapper
3 whole red snapper, about 2 pounds each, ask your fish monger to do all the dirty work on these big boys before bringing them home
3-4 lemons, washed and cut into slices
thyme, 1-2 bunches divvied up between the fish
garlic, thinly slice as much as you can stand
1. Stuff each fish with thyme, garlic and lemon. You can also cut slices on top of the fish and slide in some lemon slices as well. The Boyfriend doesn’t salt or pepper the fish before grilling, but if you feel you must, please do.
2. Oil your fish before putting them on the grill. *Just a note here: If your grill gets really hot and flamey, consider putting your fish on a baking sheet. The Boyfriend’s grill is set up so that the flames don’t get too high so there’s no danger of burning the fish.
3. Grill with the lid closed for about 30 minutes at 450-500 °F.
Postcript: The Boyfriend says:
“For some added zing, serve with a side of lemon-butter sauce, mango or papaya salsa.”