In Israel, one tends to think of eating fish only in places that are situated on the seashore, but great fish dishes can be found in places that are inland, such as the Lavan restaurant in the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
The kosher dairy restaurant offers a rich menu, a warm atmosphere and a fantastic view of the Old City.
The young chef, Sagi Azoulay, serves Israeli dishes that are inspired by Italian cuisine and are based on fresh produce. The menu changes according to the seasons and the availability of fresh ingredients.
For the fall, Azoulay suggests taking advantage of local fish. We asked him to give us some recipes inspired by various cuisines from around the globe.
HERRING AND POTATO BRUSCHETTA Makes 5
3 pieces of pickled herring, sliced into bite-size pieces
For the bruschetta
✔ 1 baguette, sliced into 3- to 4-cm. slices
✔ Olive oil For the potato salad:
✔ 3 medium-size potatoes
✔ 2 pickles, chopped
✔ 6 radishes, thinly sliced
✔ 1 red onion, thinly sliced
✔ 1 tsp. grated horseradish
✔ 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
✔ ½ tsp. salt
✔ 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
✔ 1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
✔ 1 tsp. olive oil
✔ Juice of 1 lemon To prepare the potato salad: Scrub the potatoes clean or peel them and cook in boiling salted water for 30 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Transfer into a large bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients.
Heat oven to 190°.
Rub each of the bread slices with olive oil. Line a baking sheet with foil, arrange the bread slices on the baking sheet, oil side up, and bake for 5 minutes.
To serve: Heap each slice with 1 tbsp. of the potato salad and top with 3 or 4 pieces of herring.
ORANGE SOUP WITH FISH AND RED BEANS
✔ 3 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
✔ Kernels of 5 ears of corn (remove kernels by cutting downwards on the corn cob with a sharp knife)
✔ 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
✔ 2 leeks, sliced
✔ 1 cup white wine
✔ 1 tsp. turmeric
✔ 3 cloves garlic
✔ 4 stalks celery, chopped
✔ 2 sage leaves
✔ 100 ml. cream
✔ 1 Tbsp. salt
✔ 1⁄3 tsp. nutmeg
✔ 2 Tbsp. honey
✔ ½ tsp. pepper
✔ 500 gr. white fish fillet, cubed
✔ 200 gr. red beans, cooked
In a large pot, melt butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
In a deep pan over low heat, sauté the squash, corn, sweet potatoes, leeks, seasonings and sage. Add 1 cup white wine and enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook about 40 minutes.
Add the cream. Remove from stove and, with a hand blender, puree the soup. Return it to the stove and add the fish and the beans and cook for 10 minutes.
Serve garnished with a sage leaf or chopped cilantro.
CRISPY FRIED RED MULLET WITH SWEET-AND-SOUR SAUCE
✔ 12 whole mullets, cleaned
✔ Frying oil
✔ ½ cup flour
✔ ½ cup cornmeal (polenta)
✔ 1 Tbsp. sumac
✔ 1 tsp. salt
For the sauce:
✔ 1⁄3 cup sweet chili sauce
✔ 3 sprigs lemongrass, white part only, chopped
✔ Juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
✔ 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
✔ 1 garlic clove, minced
To prepare sauce: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
In a deep pot, heat frying oil to 190°. Mix all the coating ingredients in a soup bowl, dip the fish in the flour mixture and shake to remove excess.
Deep fry the fish 2 to 3 minutes.
Fry no more than 3 or 4 fish at a time. Transfer to paper towels.
Arrange all the fish on a plate and serve with the sauce and lemon on the side.
OPEN SICILIAN FISH LASAGNA
✔ 12 lasagna leaves, cooked according to package instructions
✔ ½ cup white wine
For the sauce:
✔ 1 kg. Tamar tomatoes (elongated tomatoes)
✔ 4 cloves garlic
✔ 1 tsp. thyme
✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ Handful basil leaves
✔ 2 tsp. sugar
✔ ½ kg. spinach leaves, washed
For the fish cakes:
✔ ½ kg. fillet of white sea fish, chopped with a sharp knife
✔ ½ cup parsley, chopped
✔ ½ cup cilantro, chopped
✔ 1 tsp. salt
✔Pinch black pepper
✔ 1 egg yolk
✔ 1 onion, chopped
✔ Zest of 3 lemons
✔ 1⁄3 tsp. cumin
✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil
To prepare the fish cakes: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and hand-knead for 2 minutes.
Wet your palms and shape into 50-gr. patties. Arrange on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To prepare the sauce: Heat the oven to 220°.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the basil leaves.
Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place in a food processor. Add the basil leaves and grind until smooth.
Fry the fish patties in a deep pan with ½ Tbsp. olive oil for about 1 minute on each side.
Add ½ cup white wine and the sauces and gently mix. Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes.
To arrange the dish: Place 1 leaf of pasta on a plate, add 2 or 3 fish patties with sauce and spinach and cover with another leaf of pasta and a little more sauce.
Sprinkle a little chopped fresh basil on top and serve.
INDIAN SALMON STEW
✔ ½ kg. fillet salmon, cut into large cubes
✔ 1 cup cauliflower florets
✔ 1 cup quartered champignon mushrooms
✔ 1 cup squash, cubed
✔ 3 garlic cloves, sliced
✔ 1 Tbsp. yellow curry paste
✔ 3 sage leaves
✔ 150 ml. coconut cream
✔ Handful cilantro leaves
✔ 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
✔ 1 onion, sliced thinly
✔ 1 tsp. salt
Add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil to a wide pot and sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas, mix and then add the fish and the curry paste and mix gently. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sage and season to taste. Add the coconut cream and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat.
Serve garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.
■ Recipes and photos courtesy of Lavan, 11 Derech Hebron, The Jerusalem Cinematheque, (02)