Toro with Summer Caponata

My friend Al Gagnon is a fisherman. He lives and breathes fishing and has an impressive record of locating and landing many of the local species, making him a valuable asset to the Edgartown fishing guides. Every summer as the waters warm up, Yellowfin and Big Eye Tuna arrive at an area southeast of Martha’s Vineyard. Consequently, every now and then during this time, I get the call I wait for: “Billy….. I have some Toro for you, my friend!”

Seared Toro with Summer Caponata
Bingo!!! Toro is the belly strap of the these magnificent pelagic fish, full of omega-rich fat marbling the belly cut like Kobe beef, a really prized cut from a revered fish. Simply prepared as sashimi- raw or quickly seared and sliced, served with a dipping sauce is classic and excellent. However, this is equally delicious with this Mediterranean style preparation of Summer Caponata.


2lb slab of toro (or substitute with good tuna loin)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 eggplant, skinned and large diced
1 large red pepper, roasted, skinned and diced
1 onion, diced
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small jar capers, drained
3 anchovy fillets, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green zucchini, fine diced
1/4 fennel bulb, fine diced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
Large handful of basil, torn or chopped
Large handful of Italian parsley, rough chopped
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
Splash of red wine vinegar

• First take the eggplant, sprinkle with sea salt and place in a colander for 1/2 an hour
• Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels or clean tea towel
• Now heat a large skillet over med/high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
• Add eggplant and cook until soft and golden
• Remove from skillet and set aside
• Turn heat down to medium, add a splash more of oil and add onion
• Cook for 5mins and add garlic
• Cook gently for another couple of minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic
• Remove from heat and add the eggplant, peppers, fennel, zucchini, tomato, capers, anchovies, olives, herbs and zest of lemon
• Now squeeze 1/2 the lemon juice in and add a good splash of red wine vinegar
• Finally add a generous drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and fresh ground pepper and mix well
• Rub the Toro with olive oil and season well with salt & pepper
• Heat grill to high and oil the grate to stop the fish from sticking
• Sear for 90 seconds on each side and remove to a plate.
• Allow to rest for a couple of minutes and then slice 1/4 inch thick

Spoon a long pile of Caponata onto a platter and rest the Toro against it in a fan shape and serve

Countdown is on…

Only 4 weeks left this Friday until we have our first event in North Canterbury!! If you haven’t already then get online to register!
AND book your tickets for dinner in the restaurant from
for a tasty evening meal of wild foods to be enjoyed together before the prize giving! …prizes look good! how does a night for two at Hapuka Lodge and Tree Houses sound, with a 3 course dinner soundHapuku-Lodge-Logo-White copy?!

Hapuku-Lodge-Logo-White copy

LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE! $55 adults, $15 kids (for competitors) and $65 adults and $25 for kids if your not competing… so get foraging, hunting, fishing, diving, fermenting… and we are looking forward to seeing you on Friday 13th of March at Pegasus Bay Winery, Vineyard, and Restaurant

Goat Curry

This is a wonderful recipe for a cold winter’s day or a hot summer’s evening. No matter where you live in the world, this recipe will go over like wildfire with your friends and family. Make sure you complete the spice preparation before you start cooking.


1½ kgs/3lbs goat leg or shoulder, diced
½ cup olive oil
2 sweet onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh chilli, de seeded & chopped finely
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1 medium sized eggplant, small dice
10 baby potatoes, small dice
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin coconut milk
2 cinnamon sticks
small handful curry leaves (optional)
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped
Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper

Spice Preparation:
Take 2tsp cumin seed, 2tsp coriander seed, 3 cardamom pods, ½ tsp fenugreek seed, and gently toast seeds in pan over low heat, grind to a powder with pestle & mortar or coffee grinder. Add 2 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp turmeric.

• Combine meat, spices and a little olive oil in a large Ziploc bag
• (the meat can marinade overnight if you have time).
• Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan/casserole.
• Gently sauté onions, garlic and ginger.
• Add eggplant, potatoes, chilli and curry leaves and continue to sauté over medium heat.
• Remove vegetables from pan, set aside.
• Add diced spiced goat to pan and sauté until golden.
• Return vegetables to the pan, add tomatoes, coconut milk and cinnamon stick.
• Increase the heat & bring to a boil.
• Reduce heat, cover and leave to gently simmer for 2½ hrs.
• Remove lid for the final 30 mins or so of cooking.
• Keep checking a stirring. If the curry becomes a little dry you can add more coconut milk or stock.
• Before serving, add chopped spinach & cilantro.
Serve with steamed basmati rice, cucumber raita and chutneys.