I first heard about Kangaroo Island from the late, great Steve Irwin. And yes, I do think he was amazing – probably one of the most heroic protectors and defenders of our natural resources and the creatures God gave us. More importantly, he opened up the eyes of the world to the damage being done to our fragile planet and its inhabitants. But I digress. When I saw his footage of Kangaroo Island, I knew it was someplace I had to go. Sadly, it still remains one of the best places I’ve never been…but I will get there.
The island is located about 8 miles offshore of Cape Jervis, South Australia. It is a long, thin, pristine wilderness – beautiful, peaceful and full of the native Australian animals people like me find irresistible. Kangaroos (of course) koalas, sea lions and pelicans dwell on the island in abundance. The landscape is surprisingly diverse, with towering sand dunes, soaring cliffs, wetlands, forests and pure white beaches.
In the spring (September to November), wildflowers color the landscape like a painter’s palate, with 40 different species growing on the island. Eucalyptus oil is at peak production in the spring, which makes me think its wonderful scent would gently perfume the island’s breezes.
In summer (December to February), kangaroos, wallabies and koalas give birth to their blind and furless babies, while the little penguins are molting their feathers. This is also the time of year when the New Zealand fur seals give birth to chocolate-brown pups.
My next post will provide info on how to get there, where to stay, and more about the island. For now, enjoy this local recipe. (I’ll probably try it without the anchovies.)
Kangaroo Island Chicken
4 boned chicken thighs; cut in pieces
10 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves; peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup pitted and finely chopped green olives
1 garlic clove; minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley;
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 bulbs fennel
4 lemon wedges
Parsley leaves for garnish
Zest the lemon. Marinate the chicken with the lemon zest, two tablespoons olive oil, crushed garlic and salt and pepper for two hours or overnight. To make relish: mash the anchovies and place in a food processor with the green olives, minced garlic, parsley, vinegar, juice of lemon and another six tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken, preferably over charcoal. Remove the chicken from the chargrill, cut into small pieces and toss with the relish. To accompany this dish, slice some fennel into large wedges and pour over a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a little sugar and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Cover in foil and cook in the oven for about fifteen minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with lemon and parsley leaves and scattered with black olives around the dish.