Friday, August 22, 2008

Never smile at a crocodile

Wondering where I've been lately? Certainly not in the kitchen, but definitely working up a sweat when these fellas were jumping just feet from my face. This guy is just one of 3,000 saltwater crocs inhabiting the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory of Australia, so it's not the best place to go for a paddle. Interestingly, I learnt that "crocodile tears" are actually real and not just a saying that parents would use on children when a tantrum was thrown, and real tears were nowhere to be seen. Crocodiles are sprinters, at a speed faster than any racehorse, but if they sprint for more than 100 metres, the lactic acid builds up in their bodies, to a deadly level, and they expel these acids through their tears, to avoid death. They can also see in colour, so if you happen to find yourself in croc infested waters wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt, get it off real quick, or say your prayers.
Crocodile is a white meat, high in cholesterol and protein, but low in fat, with a delicate flavour (so I'm told!!) Light tropical fruits such as paw paw or banana compliment crocodile meat well. Surprisingly, it is best cooked from a frozen state, as during the thawing process most of the moisture runs out decreasing the flavour. It should be cooked for two minutes on either side and then allowed to stand for a few minutes. There is no need to use a large number of ingredients, other than herbs or spices. If frying, always use butter or olive oil, as these will not interfere with the unique flavour. Do not use margarine as the hydrogenated fats can emit an unpleasant flavour and prevent you from using other dairy products such as cream in the recipe. Keep it plain and simple. Farmed crocodile meat is a growing industry in Australia, however I'm not really adventurous enough to try it. Gotta keep tabs on the cholesterol levels, right?

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