A quince quartet

Don’t shy away from this quintessential fruit now in season.

By NERIA BARR
October 2, 2013 12:26
Seared fish with lentil salad, herbs, pomegranate and quince.

Seared fish with lentil salad, herbs, pomegranate and quince. (photo credit: Boaz Lavi)

Before the short quince season is over, now is the time to introduce the bright yellow fruit into your kitchen.

Quince cannot be eaten raw; but once boiled in water or baked in the oven, it renders its perfume and pinkish color to both sweet and savory dishes.

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Capture quince in jams, bake it instead of apples in pies or add it to meat and poultry casseroles. It is delicious and filled with nutritional value.

Chef Shay Doblero of the Piazza restaurant in Tel Aviv chose to pair quince with fish for light and elegant dishes and made an interesting take on a French classic dessert, using it instead of peaches. His creative ideas will be a good start in experimenting with quince in your kitchen.


Bake the quince

All the recipes below call for baking the quince before preparing the dish. Wrap each fruit in aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 150° oven for 90 minutes or until the fruit is soft and golden.


SEA FISH CARPACCIO

Serves 4



Sea fish carpaccio (Boaz Lavi)

✔ 250 gr. fresh fillet of sea fish, very thinly sliced
✔ 1 baked quince, cored and thinly sliced
✔ 3-4 Tbsp. nut or olive oil
✔ 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (if you don’t like cilantro, use another herb)
✔ 1 bunch chives, chopped
✔ Salt
✔ Lemon juice

Arrange the fish and fruit slices on a serving dish, alternating them. Sprinkle with herbs, season with salt and lemon juice, drizzle a little oil and serve.


SEARED FISH WITH LENTIL SALAD, HERBS, POMEGRANATE AND QUINCE
Serves 4
✔ 800 gr. sea fish cut into 4 equal portions
✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ Salt and pepper

For the lentil salad
✔ 200 gr. black lentils
✔ 1 tomato, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
✔ 1 baked quince, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
✔ 3 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds
✔ 1 bunch chopped parsley, leaves only
✔ 1 green onion, chopped
✔ 1 tsp. garlic, minced
✔ 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 1 Tbsp. apple vinegar
✔ 1 Tbsp. lemon juice Soak the lentils in cold water for 30 minutes.

Transfer with the water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain and let cool in a bowl.

Meanwhile, season the fish with salt and a little oil and sear on a hot skillet, skin side down, and then turn and cook the other side for 3 more minutes.

Add tomato, quince, herbs and garlic to the lentils and season with salt, vinegar, oil and lemon juice.

Divide the salad on four plates, sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top and place 1 fish portion on top of each.


QUINCE MELBA

Serves 4

Quince Melba (Boaz Lavi)

A twist on the classic French dessert traditionally served with peaches.

✔ Good-quality vanilla ice cream
✔ 2 baked quinces, halved and cored
✔ 500 ml. water
✔ 150 gr. sugar
✔ 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
✔ 1 cinnamon stick

In a small pot, mix water and sugar and heat until sugar dissolves. Add cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Add the quince halves and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the fruit and continue cooking until the syrup reduces. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place each quince half in a serving bowl or martini glass, top with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with the syrup.


QUINCE TART


Quince Tart (Boaz Lavi)


For the pastry

✔ 2 cups flour
✔ 150 gr. cold butter, cubed
✔ 100 gr. powdered sugar
✔ 1 egg yolk
✔ 1 Tbsp. cold water
✔ Pinch salt

For the custard filling
✔ 2 baked quinces, peeled, cored and cubed
✔ 250 ml. cream
✔ 3 egg yolks
✔ 50 gr. brown sugar
✔ 1 vanilla bean or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

To prepare pastry: In a food-processor bowl, mix together flour, butter, powdered sugar and salt. Work in pulses until mixed and the pastry has a sandy texture. Add egg and water and mix only until dough forms. Remove from food processor, form a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 180°.

Remove pastry from refrigerator, unwrap and roll on a lightly floured work surface to the size of a pie dish. Line a pie dish with the pastry, pushing it into place with the hands. Prick the pastry shell in several places with a fork, lay aluminum foil on the pastry shell and place dry beans or other weights on top and bake the pastry shell for 8 minutes. Remove foil and weights and let cool. Do not turn the oven off.

To prepare filling: Mix together cream, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Place the cubed quince on the cooled pastry shell in an even layer. Pour the custard and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

 
Recipes and photos courtesy of Piazza.

The Piazza restaurant brings Italian atmosphere into the heart of Tel Aviv, offering European décor, a relaxed ambience and authentic Italian cuisine based on imported ingredients and fresh local produce.

Piazza, 99 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv, (03) 527-4488 The restaurant is not kosher.


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