Snoek, patat, vetkoek, Mom’s apricot jam

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Preparation info

  • Serves 8

    main course portions
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About

This dish is dedicated to the women from Napier. I was invited by a mate to ride my very first mountain bike race in Napier many years ago – the Napier Snoek en Patat Fees. I almost fucking died. I swear. For those of you who cycle or play sports, you will understand when I say I completely overcooked it and bonked with 20km to go. That is a long way when you have nothing left. That snoek, patat and apricot jam on fresh farm bread was to this day one of my best meals.


Snoek with apricot glaze

  • 1 kg fresh snoek fillets
  • 175 g Loxton lager beer
  • 250 g apricot jam
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 75 g butter
  • 2 lemons – the juice
  • limes – the zest

Sweet potato

  • 1.2 kg red skin sweet potatoes
  • 160 g butter
  • Maldon sea salt flakes
  • 16 vetkoek2 per serving
  • Mom’s apricot jam – for serving with the vetkoek
  • dried fennel – to garnish
  • lime zest – to finish


Before grilling the snoek fillets, make the apricot glaze. In a pot over medium heat, combine the lager beer, apricot jam and garlic. Gently simmer until reduced by half. Finish by adding the butter and lemon juice. Reserve the glaze in the pot near your fire with the basting brush at hand.

Grill the snoek skin side down over low heat from the coals. Do this in a ‘toe-klap rooster’ (‘slap-closed grid’ or hand-held, hinged braai grid that closes, making it easy to turn and cook the food inside it). Baste the snoek continuously with the apricot glaze. You want to cook the snoek almost entirely on the skin side before quickly turning it at the end to give some colour to the flesh side. Once cooked, remove the fish from the grill and sprinkle with lime zest.

Wash the sweet potatoes. Wrap them in foil and place into the coals of a fire. Keep turning, so that they don’t burn on one side. I like to open them once soft and leave them on the foil in the coals to crisp a little, turning them once after a minute. Alternatively, bake the sweet potatoes in a 180°C oven for 45 minutes or until soft. When ready to serve, remove the potatoes from the foil and slice lengthways down the centre. Finish with 20 g butter on each potato and season with sea salt flakes.

I could eat this entire dish off the fire, but for all you fancy folk, place each serving of fish on the plate and arrange all the bits as you like.

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