Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We Want Food - Fish fry Israeli style

To go with the Israeli challah Friday night, I decided to extend the theme and cook a couple of dishes from Janna Gur's beautiful cookbook The Book of New Israeli Food.

I paged through the book, ogling the amazing looking options and mentally marking the things I want to try in the future (can you say halvah babka?!?!)

Ultimately, I decided on Chreime, which is a North African fish stew that is a typical Passover or Rosh Hashanah dinner among Jews from Moroco, Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia. It is meant to use a whole white fish (like grouper, amberjack, sea bass, carp) cut into steak style slices, but I just used sea bass fillets, and it worked very nicely.

Here's the recipe:

Chreime - North African Hot Fish Stew
(adapted slightly from Janna Gur's The New Book of Israeli Food)

-1.5 lb white fish fillets
-1/4 cup oil
-5 cloves garlic (plus a few dashes of garlic powder)
-2 T paprika
-1 T cayenne pepper or other chili powder
-1 t ground caraway (I used whole seeds)
-1 t ground cumin
-3 T tomato paste
-1 C water

1. Heat oil in saucepan, add garlic and spices and fry over high heat while stirring until oil becomes aromatic. Add tomato paste and stir until the paste blends with the oil. Add one cup of water and cook covered for 5 minutes.

2. Add the fish fillets to the sauce, bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat. Turn the fish once halfway through cooking.

3. Cook for 10 minutes or until fish is done but still firm and juicy.

It was really, really nice. Quite spicy actually, and very fragrant. To go with it, I made an Israeli salad. Usually I wouldn't use a recipe for this one, but since I had the book, I decided to see what Janna Gur's version looked like. And here it is...

It was basically just lemon juice, 4 tomatoes, 4 cucumbers, 1 red onion, 1 sweet red pepper, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1/2 jalapeno, 1 t sumac (didn't use because I didn't have it at my mom's house), salt and pepper, 3 T olive oil, 2-3 T parsley and coriander. But the extra special secret delicious ingredient made all the difference. And what was that you ask? A dash of cinnamon. Delish!

Here's the table all ready for a delightful Shabbos dinner...

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