Major success on the cooking front last night:
1. Had an unexpectedly delicious dinner
2. Rediscovered an old cookbook
3. Made up a successful dish from scratch
4. All prep took less than 20 min.
Did I say major success?
When we were planning the weekly menu last weekend, I picked up our copy of New Kosher Cuisine. It's a community cookbook that I'd gotten back in D.C. on recommendation from a good friend. It turned out to be too practical for our cooking style back then (though the Challah recipe is still our go-to challah recipe), but our interests and time constraints have changed radically in the past year or so. Like all community cookbooks it can be hit or miss, but I've gotten better at guesstimating what a dish would taste like based on reading the recipe. And oh man, was "Company Fish" a hit.
It's supposed to be a Shabbat dinner meal, when you have company over (hence the title of the dish). I'm not sure that would work for the super observant unless they were also super prompt (the fish needs to go straight from the broiler to the table, meaning your guests must already be home from shul and/or you don't mind using your broiler after sundown), but it's otherwise perfect for inviting guests over on a weeknight. The dish is super quick: since you marinate it ahead of time, it takes literally no more than 10min to have it from the fridge to the table. It's also quite impressive: strong complex flavors infuse all of the fish, and you really can't help but make sure the last drop of sauce is consumed. And the marinade ingredients are all standard (inexpensive) pantry fare -- what's not to like? Added bonus: the flavor of the sauce and the texture of the fish are on showcase here, so it's good for folks who are apprehensive about "fishy" flavors AND you don't need to feel compelled to buy expensive cuts of fish. Fresh fish, and voila.
The other success was the impromptu salad. Again, very simple: it was all ingredients we had in the fridge, and the chopping was the longest part. But it was so full of flavor and the freshness of summer that (don't read this part Mom) we totally started digging into the serving bowl with our forks once we we'd inhaled the servings on our plates. Great showcase for those uber fresh farmer's market veggies.
Israeli Couscous Salad, serves 4 generously
1 cup Israeli Couscous
1 beautiful heirloom tomato,
4 oz feta
1 small-medium red onion
1/2 cup chopped mint
Toast the israeli coucous in a little bit of oil, stirring regularly. Meanwhile boil water in a kettle. Once the couscous is toasted to your taste, pour ~2 cups boiling water into the pot (slowly, and stand back, it's pretty exciting). Simmer water for ~6min, or until coucous is done. Drain couscous, put into salad bowl.
Mince 1 red onion, chop 1 cucumber, 1 tomato, and 1/2 cup of mint, and all it all to the salad bowl. Crumble 4oz of feta into the bowl. Add the juice of two lemons. Salt and Pepper very generously.
Company Fish (New Kosher Cuisine cookbook), serves 8-10.
Neen: don't bother being too precise with your measurements. And don't be afraid to cut the recipe down -- fish is always best straight out of the oven.
1/3 cup soy or tamari sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs Dijon
Grated zest of two limes (Neen: or a couple tsp lime juice, if that's what you have)
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4-1/2 cup scallions, chopped
4 lbs ocean perch or salmon, skin removed.
Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place fish in a non-aluminum dish and cover with marinade. Refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.
Preheat broiler. Broil fish 4 to 8 min until brown. Transfer to platter and spoon sauce over fish. Serve immediately.