Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

When­ever I en­counter Sea Bass, I think of the true story of the good old days of Cyprus wine: the Wine Pipe­line. The in­dus­try was sell­ing huge quan­ti­ties of bulk wines and “Cyprus Sherry” to var­i­ous Euro­pean mar­kets. The wine was ac­tu­ally pumped out to tanker ships, an­chored about 400 me­tres off­shore, by pipe­line. On this oc­ca­sion, when pump­ing had fin­ished, the French tanker cap­tain called to shore say­ing that the pump­ing was sev­eral hundred litres short. “No! No!” came the re­sponse, “Our me­tres show the com­plete quan­tity”. Even­tu­ally a small leak in the pipe­lines was dis­cov­ered. That night a few parcels of wine were found and the short­age was made up, and the wine tanker de­parted. The next day, fish­er­men found thou­sands of re­cently de­ceased fish float­ing on the wa­ter where the pump­ing (and the leak) had taken place. Fresh enough for sale, they had a bonus day. Much of the “catch” was sea bass.

To be per­fect, you need fresh pine-nuts (“Sno­bar” in Ara­bic, “Pi­no­lia” in Greek) and th­ese are dif­fi­cult to find – and ex­pen­sive. In the Mediter­ranean re­gion, the best ones come from Le­banon, but all too of­ten the shops sell im­ported ones from China and they give off a musty flavour. So, in such a case I pre­fer to use slivers of peeled, blanched al­monds.

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