Consulting and Boat Caught Wahoo - January 19, 2021
In the early 1990s, I was on a Consulting assignment in Australia in a suburban town called Pennant Hills, right outside of Sydney. We were on site at a beautiful IBM office that was very “green,” and really the first of its time at least as far as I was aware. This type of building may have been common in Australia, but I had never heard of the architects of a building being so concerned with its environmental impact. It was built into the side of a hill and all of the cooling and heating systems took advantage of the building’s natural landscape.
One of the consultants from my company that came on the 2nd wave of staffing was named Teresa Williams. She was a great lady. Considerably older than the rest of us (she was just about my age now (almost (not quite!) mid 50s) and the rest of us were in our very early 20s), but she was a really funny lady and a great consultant. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but looking back, it had to take guts to walk into that kind of environment, when all of her peers were 30+ years younger, right out of college and thousands of miles away from home, but there she was.
One weekend, she got a bug to go fishing. She REALLY wanted to go deep sea fishing so she convinced about 6 of us (because it was kind of expensive, like $150 a head plus tip, which seemed exorbitant at the time), I think it was Ed Chang, Allan Rosenstein, maybe Dave Gynn and Jen Garnto and I don’t recall who else, to wake up at 5AM or something like that on a weekend (which is NOT my idea of what time to wake up on a weekend) and go meet this random boat with some random Captain she had lined up to go fishing.
So, we go offshore and this guy has hand reels. Like, just a spool with some fishing line on it. And I’m looking at these hand reels and thinking - we are going to reel fish in on THOSE? No break, no leverage, not even a rod? Well, wouldn’t you know it, before too long we start catching. The fish weren’t huge, maybe we weren’t even too far offshore, I don’t really recall. It wasn’t a rough ride or anything, so who knows how close to the mainland we were, my seagoing prowess was quite limited in those days.
I think we caught snapper and who knows what else. We shared the catch with the Captain and drug our take of the catch back to our hotel in Sydney. None of the rest of us had any idea what to do with it, so Teresa cooked the catch up in her apartment that night in the kitchenette in her suite, right across from Hyde Park. She invited us all over for dinner. She made two different recipes, but the one that I remember most was in a red sauce with olives and some other stuff and it was delicious. I think I remember her saying something about “Vera Cruz.” I have never forgotten that dish over the years and I have wished I could contact her to catch up and figure out how to make the fish! I was looking through a cookbook last week and I will be darned if I did not see a recipe for Snapper Vera Cruz with what I believe is the same red sauce with olives and capers!
So tonight I am making boat-caught pan-seared Wahoo over a Vera Cruz sauce with garlic-rosemary roasted potatoes.
I lost touch with Teresa a long, long time ago, and I have tried to locate her several times over the years on Facebook and the Internet, to no avail. I really wish I could let her know that she inspired our dinner tonight.
If any of my SEER buddies have any connection to her, I would love it if you would share her contact info with me or pass mine along to her. Bon Appetit, Teresa!