I get confused with the names of fish here in Israel. Could you unravel the puzzle of what various fish are called here and what their names are in the rest of the world? In particular, I was recommended to try a fish called palamida. What is it? What do you do with it?
I can give you the names of some of the more common Mediterranean fish. As for imported Atlantic fish, there is always some confusion as to what they are called here as opposed to abroad. You must realize that every culture or language has its own names, so what I expect you'll want are the English names.
Here's a list (Hebrew version first):
Lokus - Grouper Bass; Denis - Sea Bream; Musar - Ombrina (a fish similar to bass); Labrak - Sea Bass (French Loup de Mer); Bass - Striped Bass; Bakala - variously Hake or Haddock (not to be confused with Bacalao, dried and salted cod); Farida - Red Snapper; Buri - Grey Mullet; Barbunia - Red Mullet; Palamida Levana - Bonito Tuna; Sol - Plaice or Lemon sole (Dover Sole is also available, referred to as Dover Sol); Forel - Trout; Musht or Amnon - St. Peter's Fish; Karpion - Carp; Kasif - Silver Carp. Cod is known as cod and salmon likewise is known by its English name.
Many of the names given to fish in this country are taken from Turkish or Greek, which is quite logical as we share the same waters.
As mentioned, this is but a short list of what is most popular. My favorite fishmonger in Mahaneh Yehuda has a great selection of fish that I wouldn't even begin to know the names of, even in English.
Cooking palamida levana is quite simple. You'll probably only be able to get the fish at good fishmongers, usually in major shouks like Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda or Tel Aviv's Shouk Hacarmel. Ask the fishmonger to fillet it for you.
For about 2 fish (approximately 3/4 - 1 kilo before filleting) you'll need 2 cups or more of olive oil.
2 lemons, sliced (you can try pickled lemons for an extra bit of spice)
3-4 tomatoes, peeled, sliced and seeds removed
Some sprigs of thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lay the fish in a heavy fry pan or a fire-proof ceramic dish with the tomatoes and lemon (if using a ceramic dish it would be wise to place a metal plate, available from all hardware stores, between the flame and the dish).
Pour in the olive oil, enough to cover the fish.
Season with salt and pepper and spread some sprigs of thyme over all the ingredients.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Place over the lowest flame and allow to cook slowly for about half an hour.
When done, allow to cool and serve with a green salad.
You may think that such a quantity of oil makes the dish a bit greasy. This fish tends to become dry when cooked so the oil maintains its succulence.
Palamida is also good in Sushi recipes.
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