Fish

Pacman Gefilte Fish

pacman gefilte fish 1

Sometimes the wow is all in the presentation.  The presentation takes a simple menu item to a whole new level.   Just cutting something a different way or finding a unique manner to plate it creates a real wow.

Gefilte fish is a Jewish Shabbos and Yom Tov (holiday) staple.  It is like a meatloaf, except with ground fish.  And, traditionally, it is cut into slices and served with horseradish and beets.  This is a simple and unique way to serve gefilte fish.

I first saw this way of serving gefilte fish at my friend, Lori’s house many years ago.  I have served gefilte fish so many times this way and it never fails to bring a smile to the lips of my guests.  This Pacman presentation has received lots of mileage, especially with Avigail and Judah, my grandchildren.  They are too young to know what Pacman is, so we just call it “fish” gefilte fish and they look forward to it whenever they visit for Shabbos.

pacman gefilte fish 2

INGREDIENTS

one loaf of gefilte fish and 1-2 carrots, prepared according to directions

 

DIRECTIONS

Prepare gefilte fish and carrot according to package directions.  I used A&B Cut cooked gefilte fish loaf into slices.  Cut a notch out of the narrow end of each slice and remove it.  Move it to the other end of the slice, creating a fishtail.

Cut carrot into slices.  Place one over the notch cutout to resemble a fish eye.

Voila!

 

 

The Perfect Grilled Salmon Wrap

salmon tortilla wraps 2

Salmon is one of the staples in my house.  Just about everyone here (except my mother) really enjoys salmon, so it is often a go-to dinner.  Very often, I prepare a family pack of salmon, only to find that someone has already eaten dinner elsewhere.   I then repurpose the salmon for lunch the next day.

One of my favorite lunches is a grilled salmon wrap.  It is portable, delicious and very satisfying.  It is so simple to prepare once you know the way to roll the perfect wrap.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

large pliable tortillas or wraps

arugula (see Kosher notes)

Thinly sliced tomatoes  or other vegetables (optional)

grilled or baked salmon

Spicy Mayo

 

STEP BY STEP DIRECTIONS

Lay out the wrap on a flat surface.  I chose a rectangular wrap, but this can be made in exactly the same way using a round tortilla or wrap.  Just make sure to use a tortilla or wrap that is soft and pliable, not brittle.

tortilla wrap step 1

Choose your favorite dip or dressing or and spread it all over the wrap.  This gives extra flavor to the salmon and helps the fillings  adhere to the wrap.

 

Add the arugula by placing in a thin layer right over the sauce, making sure to cover about half of the tortilla.

tortilla wrap step 2

Add any other thinly sliced vegetables.   This will add another texture and/or moisture to your wrap.

Here I added beefsteak tomatoes from my garden.  Tomatoes will add favor and moisture to the wrap.  You can add thinly sliced cucumbers, peppers or jicama to add crunch.  Of course, you may omit this step if you are a purist about your wrap.

tortilla wrap step 3

Next, add the salmon.  If there are any bones, remove and lay in a single strip or flake and place atop the arugula and vegetables.

tortilla wrap step 4

Sprinkle on another thin layer of dressing or dip to keep the salmon flavorful.

tortilla wrap step 5

Next, fold your wrap carefully.

Before we begin, here are two important points:

  1. Make sure that you are using a pliable and soft wrap or tortilla.  Brittle tortillas or wraps will not work well for these wraps.
  2. You will be tempted to overfill your wrap.  Don’t give in to temptation,  It will make your wrap messy and impossible to roll up neatly.

Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Fold in the first sidetortilla wrap step 6
  2. Now, fold in the second side  tortilla wraps step 6a
  3. Start rolling wrap from bottom to top, carefully move the stuffing toward the bottom of the wrap as your roll, leaving a least 1 1/2 to 2 inches at the top of the wrap.   Roll the wrap all the way to the top.tortilla wrap step 7tortilla wrap step 8
  4. Wrap the parchment or wax paper around it.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, cut through the wrap on a diagonal.salmon tortilla wraps 2

 

Voila!

 

KOSHER NOTES

Kosher laws disallow the eating of any whole insects and therefore most greens require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing. Kashrut authorities differ somewhat on the proper checking of leafy vegetables. This blog was not designed to be your kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using greens such as arugula.

Individual Sushi Salads

 

individual sushi salad 1

My kids all love sushi.   To them, having sushi as an appetizer Shabbos lunch is a real luxury.  While sushi is a fan favorite, I don’t feel that it has enough nutritional value as it is mostly rice.  Furthermore, sushi rolls do not stay fresh enough from Friday until Shabbos lunch to make for an appetizing appetizer.

So, I have been preparing individual sushi salads as a Shabbos lunch appetizer, instead.

And, sushi salads eliminate most of  the fussiness of rolling sushi.  I can choose the proportions of each element in the sushi salad, favoring more vegetables and fish than rice and nori.  The elements of the sushi salad can all be prepared in advance.   Furthermore, they are all simple ingredients that I can use in different ways for the Friday night Shabbos dinner.  And,  best of all, once assembled on Shabbos morning, the individual sushi salad ingredients stay perfectly fresh, simply delicious and gorgeous until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sushi rice (I favor brown sushi rice) prepared in rice cooker

1/4 cup rice vinegar

baked or roasted salmon fillet, cubed or shredded

nori, cut into thin strips

1 medium avocado

1-2 zucchini or cucumber, diced or grated

1-2 Carrots, grated (optional)

Simple and Perfect Spicy Mayo

 

DIRECTIONS

Prepare sushi rice in a rice cooker, using 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water.   Add 1/4 cup rice vinegar to prepared sushi rice.

Prepare salmon fillet.  Cube or shred.

Cube avocado and place in a solution of 1 cup water with juice of one lemon.

Grate cucumber, zucchini and/or carrots.

Gently roll nori sheets and cut thin strips with scissors.

In a clear glass or plastic bowl, layer cooked rice, salmon, nori, avocado, cucumber and carrot.  Drizzle spicy mayo on top and garnish with thin strips of nori drizzle of spicy mayo.

TIPS

For Shabbos lunch, prepare salmon, rice and grated vegetables before Shabbos.  Store each ingredient separately in a zipper bag.  Prepare Simple and Perfect Spicy Mayo and store in 16-oz wide-mouth squeeze bottles or 24-oz wide mouth squeeze bottles.

Before assembling, mix sushi rice with rice vinegar.  Cut or shred salmon.  Cube avocado and place in a solution of 1 cup water with juice of one lemon.

In a clear glass or plastic bowl, layer cooked rice, salmon, nori, avocado, cucumber and carrot.  Drizzle spicy mayo on top and garnish with thin strips of nori and drizzle of spicy mayo.

 

VARIATIONS

For Pesach, substitute quinoa for the sushi rice and cider vinegar for the rice vinegar.

 

PLATING TIPS

Use clear glass or plastic bowl and overlap thin strips of nori on top, creating an x or star for an impressive presentation.

 

individual sushi salad

Onion-Battered Baked Tilapia

My mother loves tilapia.  She has a difficult time finding kosher fresh tilapia in Cleveland, so it is something that she looks forward to enjoying when she visits.

Whenever she comes to visit, I try to prepare this favorite dish for her, battering it in breadcrumbs and frying it in a pan (Savta’s Favorite Breaded Tilapia).  It is one of those simply delicious main dishes that is flaky, satisfying and never disappoints.

My mother will be coming to visit next week as she prepares for hip revision surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery during Chanukah.

And, my mother’s visit makes me think of tilapia.

I love dishes that can be prepared and then placed in the oven, preferably on a timer.   This allows me to do other things while the food is being cooked.

Fry-pan breaded tilapia does not meet those qualifications. And, baked fish just doesn’t have the crunchy outside and soft inside of fried fish that would satisfy my mother.  So, I put my thinking cap on.

And, this is what I came up with….simple, satisfying and a delicious wow!

onion-crusted-tilapia-in-oven

INGREDIENTS

1 cup French Fried Onions

1/2 cup creamy dressing.  I used Simple, Creamy and Perfect Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

4-6 tilapia fillets

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet or pie plate with parchment paper.

Pulse french fried onions in the food processor using the S-blade or crush by rolling a rolling pin or pounding a mallet over zipper bag of french fried onions.

In a shallow dish or pie plate, coat each fillet with creamy dressing.   Dip each fillet into the crushed onions, making sure that the fillets are well coated.
Spread coated tilapia fillets on baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes.  Tilapia should be golden brown on outside and soft and flaky on the inside.
Enjoy!
onion-crusted-tilapia