organiser’s of the 15th Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in
Portsoy have revived an old Scottish fishing tradition and banned whistling
in the run-up to the festival which runs from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 June
2008. Last year the event fell foul of bad weather which the organisers hope
to avoid in 2008. Their tongue-in-cheek suggestion arises from the old
superstition that if you whistled at sea or near the sea, you were mocking
the Devil and he might retaliate by sending gale-force winds. The festival,
which is run by volunteers largely from the town’s 1,800 population hope
that the ‘whistling-ban’ will ensure that the 20,000 visitors to the event
will be blessed with good weather. The event features music, dance and food
as well as boating demonstrations. The theme for 2008 is ‘Salmon Cobles and
Silver Darlings’ which reflects that in its commercial heyday Portsoy
handled both salmon and herring. Visit
www.stbf.bizland.com/2008/ for full details.
nautical superstitions dating back for centuries include a suspicion of all
things left-handed with seafarers encouraged to lead with their right foot
when stepping off their boat. Rats leaving a ship was said to be a sign of
trouble to come, but the presence of a black cat was seen as a good omen for
sailors. Pigs, rabbits, salmon, meeting the minister were all included in
Scottish fishing superstitions in past centuries. When at sea words such as
minister, kirk, swine, salmon, trout, dog and certain family names were
never said. Substitute words were used eg the minister was called ‘the man
wi the bleck quyte’.
column is not superstitious in the least but fingers-crossed for good
weather for the Portsoy festival – and the recipe contains one of the banned
fishing words – salmon!
Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon
Ingredients: 1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta; 1 clove
garlic, minced; 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; 1/2 teaspoon
salt, plus more for
seasoning; 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for
seasoning; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 4 (4-ounce) pieces salmon; 1/4 cup
chopped fresh basil leaves; 3 tablespoons capers; 1 lemon, zested; 2
tablespoons lemon juice; 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a
boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to
the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and
transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and
pepper. Toss to combine.
Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over
medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the
fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side,
depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.
Add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the
spaghetti mixture and toss to combine. Set out 4 serving plates or shallow
bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the pasta. Top
each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.