When one talks about about Belgian cuisine, heavy, rich and wintry casseroles come to mind, served with dark beer and just as heavy desserts. But chef Sagiv Maloul of the Tel Aviv bistro Chez Corine disagrees.

“We recently launched a summer menu with many light, refreshing dishes that are all perfect for the Israeli hot season,” he says, and offers a three-course meal to celebrate Belgium’s independence day.

Chez Corine, located in Tel Aviv’s affluent area close to Hamedina Square, is a romantic corner with a distinctively European ambience that serves fresh food with a culinary blend of French and Mediterranean cuisines. Owner Corine Rubenfeld-Shahar is Belgian- born and has a background in design and art.

This artistic flair is evidenced throughout the place, down to details such as the sugar cubes that are her own design.

To start, Maloul offers a salad with a citrus dressing and caramelized pears, a favorite year round, served with a fish and potato dish cooked with vegetables and white wine sauce. The meal finishes with a light chocolate mousse.

Serve this dinner with a good white wine. The selection of good Israeli white wines that cost under NIS 100 is vast.

SALAD DE LIEGE
Serves 4
✔ 3 pears
✔ Olive oil
✔ 11⁄2 tsp.sugar
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 1 head lettuce leaves separated, washed and dried
✔ 1 bunch arugula leaves, washed and dried
✔ 1⁄2 cup walnuts, chopped
✔ 8 Tbsp. Roquefort cheese, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:
✔ 1⁄2 cup orange juice
✔ 1 Tbsp. silan
✔ 1 Tbsp. honey
✔ 1 tsp. minced garlic
✔ Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 200º. Peel pears, halve and core. Place on a lined baking sheet. Season with oil, sugar, salt and pepper and bake until caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette by shaking all the vinaigrette ingredients together in a jar with a sealed top.

Place lettuce and arugula in a salad bowl. Add the nuts.

Slice the caramelized pears thinly and place over the lettuce.

Pour the vinaigrette dressing over the salad and toss gently. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

WATERZOOI DE POISSON
Makes 4

Waterzooi is a traditional Belgian dish usually made with chicken. In hot weather, the chicken is generally replaced with fish and is served with root vegetables, white sauce and white wine.

✔ 4 fillets of trout, skin removed
✔ 50 gr. flour
✔ 50 gr. butter
✔ 1 cup milk
✔ 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
✔ 1 head celery root, chopped
✔ 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
✔ 10 new potatoes, washed well
✔ 1⁄4 cup olive oil
✔ 1 cup white wine
✔ 2 cups water

To prepare the white sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan.

Gradually add the flour while stirring. Add the milk, lower the heat and continue stirring until the sauce thickens.

Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot.

Sauté the onions, celery root, carrots and potatoes for 10 minutes.

Add fish, white sauce, wine and 2 cups of water.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

BELGIAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Serves 4
✔ 1⁄4 cup good-quality dark chocolate, cubes or medallions
✔ 1⁄4 cup good-quality milk chocolate, cubes or medallions
✔ 1⁄4 cup cream
✔ 50 gr. butter
✔ 3 egg yolks
✔ 4 egg whites
✔ 4 Tbsp. sugar Melt the two types of chocolate in a bain marie – that is, put the chocolate in a small saucepan and place the saucepan over a larger pot with boiling water.

When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat, add cream and butter and stir.

Add the yolks one by one while stirring.

Whip the egg whites and add sugar gradually until foam is stiff.

Fold the two mixtures together carefully so as not to break the foam.

Pour into serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Whip the cream when ready to serve, and top each serving with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Recipes and photos courtesy of Chez Corine 110 Jabotinsky Street Hamedina Square, Tel Aviv (03) 696-8581.

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