Cooking Class: The seven species

Celebrate Shavuot with a light gourmet meal that takes a little extra time to prepare.

Date and nectarine salad (photo credit: Boaz Lavi)
Date and nectarine salad
(photo credit: Boaz Lavi)
Chef Yossi Shitrit, of the Kitchen Market restaurant in the Tel Aviv Port, created a gourmet holiday menu suggestion for us, which is based on Israeli produce, such as pomegranate, dates, olives and oranges and other seasonal ingredients.
For the salad: ✔ 1 cup pitted black grapes, halved ✔ 4 large mozzarella balls, torn into 4 pieces each ✔ Bunch arugula leaves ✔ 12 asparagus spears, peeled ✔ 15 basil leaves
For the dressing: ✔ 4 Tbsp. pomegranate syrup ✔ ½ cup olive oil ✔ ¼ cup red wine vinegar ✔ ¼ cup honey ✔ Salt and pepper
Blanch asparagus in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and immediately place in a bowl with ice water. Cut the asparagus into 4-cm pieces and place in the salad bowl. Add the rest of the salad ingredients.
In a jar with tight cap, shake all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over the salad and toss gently.
For the salad: ✔ 20 fresh moist dates ✔ Bunch arugula leaves ✔ 10 hearts of small iceberg lettuce ✔ 4 nectarines, pitted ✔ 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped ✔ Handful of Chinese pecan nuts, crushed
For the dressing: ✔ ¼ cup raspberry vinegar ✔ 4 heaping Tbsp. honey ✔ ¼ cup olive oil ✔ Pinch coarse salt ✔ Salt and pepper
Peel dates, remove pits and cut into quarters.
Slice the nectarines thinly. Tear the lettuce by hand. Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl. In a jar with a matching cap, shake all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over the salad and toss gently.
Arrange the salad on a platter or divide into individual plates.
For the fish: ✔ 12-20 pieces of fish fillets (about 100 gr.each piece) ✔ ½ cup olive oil ✔ 10 sprigs thyme, leaves only ✔ Salt and pepper
For the salad: ✔ ½ cup bulgur ✔ ½ cup pitted dark olives ✔ 2 oranges, peeled and membranes removed, cut into bite size ✔ 1 Tbsp. sweet harissa or other hot sauce ✔ 1 Tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped ✔ ½ tsp. cumin ✔ 1 tsp. sweet paprika ✔ 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced ✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Juice of 1 lemon ✔ Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 200°. Soak bulgur in boiling water for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, mix together olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub the fish with the oil mixture on all sides and place in a baking dish, skin side up. Bake for 10 minutes.
To prepare salad: Strain the soaked bulgur.
Add the rest of the salad ingredients, mix well and season with lemon, salt and pepper. Heap salad on a serving platter and place the fish on top.
For the cake: ✔ 600 gr. cream cheese ✔ 8 egg yolks ✔ 120 gr. sugar ✔ Real vanilla extract or seeds from a vanilla bean
For the crust: ✔ ½ cup flour ✔ 1 cup powdered almonds ✔ ½ cup sugar ✔ 70 gr. butter
For the peaches: ✔ 8 halved peaches ✔ ½ bottle white wine ✔ 300 gr. sugar ✔ Seeds of 1 vanilla bean ✔ Juice of 1 lemon ✔ 100 gr. honey
Heat oven to 160°.
To prepare crust: Mix flour, almond and sugar together. Melt butter and add to dry ingredients. Spread the sandlike mixture on the bottom of a square 22x22 cm. baking dish and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Whip together yolks and sugar until light.
Add cheese and vanilla and mix well.
Remove the crust from oven and cool.
Turn the heat down to 110°.
Pour the cheese mixture on the crust and bake for 45 minutes. The cake is ready when the cheese is stabilized. Remove from oven, cool and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
To prepare peaches: In a deep skillet, mix wine, honey, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla.
Add peaches and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Cool.
When cake is ready, strain peaches and arrange on the cake. Serve. Recipes and photos courtesy of Kitchen Market