In Season: When every day's a fry-day

With Hanukka coming up now’s the time to enjoy the best produce of local olive oil makers.

Carpaccio (photo credit: Aran Chen)
(photo credit: Aran Chen)
This time of year, the first fresh olive oil is out, and the Olive Leaf restaurant in Tel Aviv, together with Geshor Oil from the Golan Heights, is celebrating the Israeli oil with a special menu based on different oils of Shemen Eretz Geshor varieties.
Chef Charlie Fadida has created new dishes, among them fried fish, veal, slow-cooked chicken breast and pasta.
Guests at the restaurant will be invited to taste the different kinds of oils and will also receive an invitation for a tour of the oil press and a complimentary bottle of premium olive oil at Kibbutz Geshur.
Barbuniya is the Hebrew name of striped red mullet. The small fish are often eaten whole, deep fried with a little lemon. Chef Fadida gives the fish an upgrade. You have to remove the bones from the fish. To “butterfly” the fish, cut it in the middle and remove the skeleton, but leave the two fillets connected.
✔16 striped red mullets, bones removed ✔ 2 Tbsp. flour ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. smoked flavored paprika ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin ✔ 1⁄4 tsp. turmeric ✔ 1⁄3 cup Geshur Arbequina olive oil (or other good-quality olive oil) For the fish vinaigrette: ✔ 2 Tbsp. mint leaves, chopped ✔ 1 clove garlic, minced✔ 4 Tbsp. lemon juice ✔ 8 Tbsp. Geshur Arbequina olive oil (or other good-quality olive oil) ✔ Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
✔ 15 mint leaves, coarsely chopped ✔ 15 parsley leaves, coarsely chopped ✔ 6 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 4 radishes, sliced ✔ 2 Tbsp. cashew nuts, coarsely ground ✔ 2 handfuls arugula leaves
For the salad dressing: ✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 1 Tbsp. lemon juice ✔ Salt and pepper
To prepare fish: Mix flour, spices, salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat olive oil in a pan. Dip fish in flour mixture so flour covers both sides, shake to remove excess flour and fry until golden on both sides. Remove from pan and place on paper towel.
To prepare fish vinaigrette: Mix together all the ingredients and dip the warm fish in the sauce.
To prepare the salad: Mix together radishes, herbs and arugula. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss.
To serve: On each plate, place a mound of salad and several fish.
If serving this dish with a meat meal, use tofu for the dip. If not, use white cheese. If you like goat cheese or labaneh, both will upgrade the dish.
✔ 4 fillets of sea bass (levrak in Hebrew) ✔ 6 Tbsp. lemon juice ✔ 10 Tbsp. Geshur Cortina olive oil (or other good-quality olive oil) ✔ 1 Tbsp. mint leaves, chopped ✔ 1 tsp. fresh coriander, chopped ✔ Salt and pepper to taste
For the tofu (or cheese) spread: ✔ 1 cup tofu cheese (or white cheese)✔ 1 Tbsp. mint leaves, chopped✔ 1 clove garlic, minced ✔ 1⁄2 Tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped ✔ 2 tsp. lemon juice
For the beets: ✔ 2 cooked red beets, peeled and thinly sliced ✔ 3 Tbsp. lemon juice ✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Salt and pepper
To prepare the fish: Cut the fish into cubes, about 2x2 cm. Place the fish cubes in a bowl, add herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss.
To prepare tofu spread: Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Place the spread in a pastry bag.To serve: Divide the fish cubes among the plates. Using the pastry bag, pipe the tofu spread around the fish. If you don’t have a pastry bag, place a few spoonfuls of the spread next to the fish.
Season the beet rounds with salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil and arrange on the plates.
Pappardelle pasta are large, broad egg pasta leaves. The best kind is made fresh, but there are good dry pappardelle. If you cannot find them, use fettuccine.
✔ 500 gr. pappardelle (or other) pasta ✔ 8 Tbsp. Geshur Picholine olive oil (or other good-quality olive oil) ✔ 1 clove garlic, minced ✔ 8 asparagus spears ✔ 2 bok choy (Chinese cabbage) ✔ 4 Tbsp. green peas ✔ 4 zucchini, julienned ✔ 2 Tbsp. basil leaves, chopped
Blanch the green vegetables – i.e., briefly cook each vegetable separately in boiling water. When the vegetable begins to get tender, immediately move to ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the green color.
To prepare the pasta: Boil water in a large pot, add 1⁄2 tsp salt and a little oil, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
Heat olive oil in a pan. Briefly fry the garlic and toss in the blanched green vegetables.
When heated through, add the drained pasta. Season with salt, pepper and chopped basil.All the recipes and photos are courtesy of chef Charlie Fadida and The Olive Leaf restaurant in the Tel Aviv Sheraton Hotel at 115 Hayarkon Street. The olive oil festival continues for a month. For more details and reservations, call (03) 521-9300. Free parking for restaurant guests.