Anyone acquainted with Pamela Loval senses her innate appreciation of the fact that simplicity is the highest form of elegance. It is this awareness, no doubt, that drove her to deliver the very gentlest rebuke - in an envelope, yet - to Short Order at the Sam Orbaum Jerusalem Scrabble Club, just before things got rolling.
Opening the envelope later, I read the following letter:
"Dear Judy, This is the best and simplest salmon recipe ever. I serve it at room temperature as a buffet centerpiece and it is elegant and delicious. In my humble opinion, salmon has no need for fancy sauces (such as mango!) - Pamela."
The reference to my November 16 inclusion of a recipe for Cinnamon-Mango Glazed Salmon was unmistakable. However, far from being fazed, I was delighted to receive material for this column.
PAMELA'S BAKED SALMON
1 fillet of salmon
1 Tbsp. capers
sea salt and ground white pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. green peppercorns, preferably bottled in brine
handful of chopped parsley
Place the salmon on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with lemon juice, peppercorns, capers and salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley.
Close the foil and seal well. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and leave it in the foil: It will continue to cook. If the fillet is especially large, increase the cooking time a little, but do not overcook.
A FOOD writer who certainly appreciates the simple approach is Britain's Nigel Slater. Here, from Real Fast Food, is his suggestion of what to do with smoked mackerel, which is readily available here.
SMOKED MACKEREL, HOT POTATOES AND BITTER LEAVES
450 gr. new (small) potatoes, scrubbed
225 gr. smoked mackerel, skinned and filleted
a wineglassful of salad dressing, preferably made
with a mild olive oil and a good dollop of
Boil the potatoes until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Shred the rocket into manageable pieces. Break the mackerel into large chunks, though probably no larger than you would like to put into your mouth, and add it to the dressing.
Drain the potatoes and cut each one in half (so the dressing can soak into the flesh). Warm the dressing and mackerel in a shallow pan over a gentle heat - don't let it boil - then add the potatoes while still warm. Throw in the leaves and move everything gently around the pan for about 2 minutes, without breaking up the fish or the potatoes.
Divide between 4 warm plates and eat with hunks of whole-wheat bread.
TEHINA, delicious and versatile, is an excellent source of calcium. It is a good and healthy stand-in for mayonnaise in some dishes, and a great adder of flavor.
Have you ever thought of making your own tehina? After some prodding, I tried a "green" version recently, and it was received with great enthusiasm. For maximum health benefit, I used Adama's Organic Whole Sesame Paste (Heimat sumsum mesumsum maleh organi).
Making tehina is not an exact science. Use the quantities below as a guide and juggle them until you get the flavor and consistency you like. Bear in mind that homemade tehina thickens when you refrigerate it. This recipe makes a medium-sized bowlful.
I decent bunch of parsley
3â„4 container of raw organic tehina
1 very large clove of garlic
juice of 1 large lemon
1â„2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
3â„4 cup of water
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until the tehina is smooth. Add more water if necessary. You don't have to chop the parsley first, even in a blender; just throw it in, stalks and all.
'TIS THE season for comfort food, and what is more Jewishly comforting than a kugel? Here's one from Esra's Meatless Meals.
ZUCCHINI AND CARROT KUGEL
5 large zucchini
1â„2 cup olive oil
3â„4 cup water
1â„2 cup flour
Grate the zucchini (courgettes), carrots and onions, using a food processor. Mix in all the other ingredients. Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof dish and bake at 180Â° for about 1 hour. Serves 6-8.
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