Cooking Class: An elegant event

Creativity is the main ingredient for a successful summer indoor or outdoor do.

Fillet of Salmon on a Bed of Green Mashed Potatoes (photo credit: Daniel Layla)
Fillet of Salmon on a Bed of Green Mashed Potatoes
(photo credit: Daniel Layla)
Summer is the perfect season for elegant evenings. Whether you are having a small dinner party or a more formal evening to celebrate a happy occasion, try these simple but impressive dishes created by chef Felix Belshakowski, who entertains many guests at his events compound Nova at the Tel Aviv Port. Add a glass of good wine, and success is guaranteed.
Belshakowski says that nowadays people are looking for lighter dishes and save their calories for desserts. Accordingly, he prefers to serve fish and interesting salads.
Nova offers many different possibilities for events of 150 to 500 guests, with its own gourmet catering suitable for indoor or outdoor sit-down dinners or cocktail parties.
The silan (date honey) vinaigrette lends this salad that special something. The sugarcan be omitted altogether. Get the greens ready in a covered bowl and keep the mixed vinaigrette in a tightly closed jar until just before serving time.
✔ 1 lettuce, washed and dried✔ 1⁄2 bag mixed baby greens✔ 1 carrot, cut into strips (use peeler for best results)✔ 1 basket berries (whatever is available)✔ 100 gr. sugared pecans 2 tart apples, thinly sliced
Vinaigrette✔ 5 Tbsp. lemon juice✔ 1 tsp. mustard✔ 1 Tbsp. sugar✔ 1 tsp. salt✔ 4 tsp. silan (date honey)✔ 1 clove garlic, minced✔ 1⁄2 cup olive oil
Whisk the vinaigrette in a bowl using a hand blender, or place in a jar with a lid and shake well. Refrigerate.
Tear greens into bite-size pieces. Mix with the rest of the ingredients. This can be done well in advance. Do not pour the dressing more than 10 minutes before serving.
To serve: Pour dressing on the salad, toss and sprinkle the pecans on top.
This dish calls for a lot of cutting. Do it a few hours before the party and refrigerate. Note: Do not mix the fish with the dressing or seasoning until just before serving.
✔ 100 gr. fresh fillet of salmon, skin removed✔ 1 red onion, chopped✔ 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley✔ 4 Tbsp. fresh or canned pineapple✔ 1 orange, peeled✔ 1 yellow pepper✔ 1 red pepper
Dressing✔ Pinch coarse salt✔ Pinch ground black pepper✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil✔ 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
Peel and remove seeds from fruits and vegetables, and cut everything into very small, even cubes.
Cut the salmon into small cubes. Mix all ingredients. If not using immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator.
Before serving, shake together oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour on the ceviche and mix well.
Serve in martini glasses.
✔ 800 gr. fillet of salmon, skin and bones removed✔ 1⁄2 cup parsley leaves, chopped✔ 1⁄2 cup coriander leaves, chopped✔ 1⁄2 cup lemon juice✔ 1⁄2 cup olive oil✔ 1 tsp. salt✔ 1 tsp. black pepper✔ 4 large potatoes✔ 2 cups frozen green peas✔ Salt and white pepper
Blend parsley, coriander, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender or a food processor.
Cut the fish into 4 slices. Dip fish in the dressing.
Peel potatoes and place in a pot. Pour water to cover and then some. Cook over low heat about 45 minutes until tender. Add the frozen peas in the same pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and mash the potatoes and the peas together. Season the mixture with salt and white pepper to taste.
Before serving, heat oven to 180º. Place salmon in a baking dish in one layer and bake for 12 minutes.
To serve: Put a heap of the green mash on each plate and top with a slice of salmon.
Garnish with a wedge of lemon.
✔ 5 green apples, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes✔ 50 gr. butter (or margarine)✔ 1 Tbsp. brown sugar✔ 1⁄3 cup maple syrup✔ 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon✔ Juice of 1⁄2 lemon✔ 3 Tbsp. whiskey or brandy✔ 1 cup cookie crumbs
Melt butter in a skillet. Add apples and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar, maple syrup, brandy, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook for two more minutes until apples begin to get soft and remove from heat. Place apple mixture in an oiled muffin baking tin or oiled paper baking pans. Fill the pans up to 3⁄4 of the height. Sprinkle the crumbs on top and bake in an 180º oven for 13 minutes.
Savarins are torte cakes that are soaked with sugar syrup and topped with whipped cream. They have many different variations around the Mediterranean. This one is an easy-to-serve and very sweet version.
To serve after a meat dinner, replace cream with parve whipping cream or ready-made parve cream. To season the syrup, you may replace rum with rosewater or orange liqueur.
✔ 11⁄2 cups flour✔ 1 cup sugar✔ 5 eggs✔ 1 cup whipping cream or parve cream✔ 1 sachet baking powder✔ 4 drops vanilla extract
Syrup✔ 1 cup sugar✔ 1 cup water✔ 2 Tbsp. rum (optional)
Whip egg yolks and half of the sugar until fluffy.
Whip egg whites with the second half of the sugar until stiff. Fold the two together.
Sift the flour with the baking powder. Add flour into the eggs and mix well.
Pour mixture into silicone muffin pans and bake in a preheated 170º oven for 25 minutes.
To prepare the syrup: In a small pot, heat all the ingredients until almost boiling.
Remove from heat and cool. Pour the syrup on the savarins as soon as you remove them from the oven.
To serve: Whip the cream, vanilla and 1 tsp. sugar into a stiff foam. Place each savarin on a plate, top with whipped cream and garnish with cherries, strawberries or mint leaves.
Recipes and photos, courtesy of Nova banquet compound in the Tel Aviv Port. 4 Bitan Ha’aratzot Street, (03) 544-7750, 1-800-333-432,