Fish in Tomato Sauce

In many Israeli homes, Friday night dinner is not complete without a stew of fish in tomato sauce to start the meal. This fish stew goes really well with good challah bread. There is nothing more satisfying around Shabbat table than dipping challah bread in the rich sauce and filling your mouth with it. Needless to say, this stew can be enjoyed any day of the week. Just make sure to have some good bread for dipping.

For best results, choose a slightly fatty fish with firm flesh and mild flavor. Grey mullet is the ultimate fish to go with in this recipe. Unfortunately, it is not an option for me in Florida. The best suited fish I found here is corvina. Sea bass is also a possibility, although a more expensive one.

3 tbs oil
1 large onion, chopped  
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
2 medium tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
2 cups water
2 tsp sweet paprika
Salt and pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2lb grey mullet, corvina, or sea bass fillet, cut into individual portions

In a large saute pan, brown the onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons oil. Add the peppers and keep sautéing for 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the tomato paste with 2 cups water, salt, paprika, and black pepper until smooth and add to the pan together with the cilantro.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes, to allow all flavors to combine.

Place the slices of fish in one layer in the pan and shake the pan slightly to nest the fish in the sauce.

Adjust seasoning. Cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the fish flakes when poked with a fork.

Preserved Lemons

Recently I’ve been in the mood for everything sour, starting with tart fruit, lemony dishes and desserts, and ending with different kinds of pickles that I devour straight from the jar. And no, I’m not pregnant. If anything, it may have to do with some pre-menopause weirdness. So as part of this crave, I had to make these preserved lemons that I love sooo much. I’m not sure if the recipe originates in Morocco or Tunisia, but I know it is very well loved in both countries, and is a favorite condiment in Israel, where I come from.

These preserved lemons are served as a condiment with meat and fish, in sandwiches, and in salads. You can also use them in cooking. One of the ways I like to use it is in Moroccan Carrot Salad.

lemon ingredients

8-9 lemons (about 2lb) rinsed well
4 tbs salt
4 cloves garlic, sliced
Pepper flakes
Sweet paprika
Olive oil

Cut 2 lemons into quarters lengthwise, then slice each quarter into ¼ inch slices. If the lemons have many seeds in them, cut the white film on at the top of the wedge that connects all the membranes, as shown in the picture. This opens the membranes so you can easily remove the seeds.

Place the lemon slices in a pickling jar and press them down using your fist.
Sprinkle on top 1 tbs of salt, 1 sliced clove of garlic, a tiny pinch of pepper flakes, and a small pinch of the paprika.

Repeat the process with the remaining lemons, pressing every two lemons down with your fist and topping them with the spices. Fill the whole jar and make sure the lemons are well pressed. If needed, add more lemons until jar is full.

When the jar is full, top the whole thing with a little bit of olive oil to cover the lemons and ‘seal’ them. This will prevent the lemons from going bad.

Seal the jar with the lid and refrigerate. The lemons will be ready to eat in three days, and will last for up to a month refrigerated.

lemon closed

Moroccan Carrot Salad

This cooked carrot salad is a staple in our home. We eat it as a side dish or as part of a mezze spread (Middle Eastern tapas). It goes very well with meats, eggs, legumes, and Middle Eastern foods.

One of the things I love about this salad is that I can make a large quantity of it, and keep it in the fridge for up to a week (not that it lasts this long…)

To get the full authentic Moroccan cuisine experience, use 1 tbs of chopped pickled lemons (found in Middle Eastern stores) instead of the lemon juice in the recipe.

8 medium carrots, peeled
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped thinly
6 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbs white vinegar
1 tsp harissa or sriracha
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice from ½ lemon (optional) or 1 tbs pickled lemon

Place the carrots in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until carrots are just tender. Drain and let cool.

Moroccan Carrot Ingredients

Slice the carrots into ½ inch rings and place in a bowl. Add the chopped cilantro or parsley, the crushed garlic, the oil and the rest of the igredients. Stir well and let sit for a few hours, to bring out the flavors.

Moroccan Carrot mixed

The salad tastes even better the next day.

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