Many years ago when I lived in Munich we spent long summer evenings in the beer gardens of the Englischer Garten and of the major breweries. These were lovely places to enjoy a maß of beer: cool, leafy green, full of happy families. And one of the nicest things to put in your stomach to cushion all that beer was a delicacy known as steckerlfisch. Steckerl is a Bavarian derivative meaning "little stick" and fisch means, well fish. Fish on a stick.
So the tenuous link between the Munich beer garden snack and this dish is two-fold: fish and stick. Fish and sticks are good together. Fish cooks extremely quickly on the grill and if you do it right it retains a lovely moist flaky texture. Unlike the mackerel used for the Munich variety, I chose salmon for my fish-on-a-stick. Since I was cooking a fillet without the skin, I decided I needed something to protect my fish and hold it together. (In the Munich beer gardens, the mackerels are barbecued whole which makes it easier to keep together.)
Whatever Mr. Alton-know-it-all Brown says about barbecuing fish even if you do it right fish has a tendency to stick to grill. And fall apart in pieces that fall down irretrievably leaving you with a few fish flakes and the smell of burnt fish. And so I thought of Dr. Biggles, who suggested in a recent comment that a little pork does not go amiss when grilling. Well, actually, I happen to agree.
So for those of you who can't kick back in a Bavarian beer garden, sucking down Edelstoff (literally, Noble Stuff, great name for a beer, don't you think?) here is another fish on a stick. It's healthy, it's tasty and it's quick to make - what more can you ask for on a sunny evening after work?
Fish on a Stick, Paris style
2 salmon steaks
1 small zucchini/courgette
3-4 cherry tomatoes
5-6 slices of Italian or French country ham (prosciutto for example, or something cheaper in the same vein)
2-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 a lemon
Peel the shallots and set them in a small saucepan of water and simmer them. As they will take longer to cook than the rest of the ingredients, you'll want to take the edge off them so everything finishes at once. In the meantime, cut your fish in big chunks, your courgettes in small ones. Remove the shallots from the fire after five minutes and turn on the grill. Thread a vegetable on a skewer and pick up a piece of salmon. Place a couple of needles of rosemary on it and wrap it in ham. Thread it on the skewer. Continue, alternating fish-with-rosemary-and-ham and vegetables until all your skewers are filled. Squeeze the lemon juice over the kabobs and if there is any rosemary left chop it up and spinkle it on them too.
That is actually the longest part of the recipe: if you are having guest over for dinner prepare the skewers, cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. I wish I had thought of it for my barbecue last weekend. (Guests, come back: I have a BETTER idea!!)
Cook for five minutes on each side, until the ham and salmon have started to brown a bit and the zucchini is tender. Serve with some asparagus spears you also grilled. They take slightly less time than the fish sticks, but if you are lucky your husband bought a swish new grill that has a little grill-shelf for keeping fully-cooked bits warm while the rest finishes (note also the nifty basket for baking potatoes!):