Independent fishing

Why go the traditional grilled meat route when you can serve your discerning guests grilled fish and vegetables?

Salmon skewers (photo credit: NIMROD GENISHER)
Salmon skewers
(photo credit: NIMROD GENISHER)
It is the season for grilling, but the open-air cooking method, suited so perfectly to our weather, should not be limited to meat and chicken. Grilling fish needs some practice, but keeping to the recipe, using lower heat and adding flavor with piquant sauces and vegetables will ensure success.
Serve grilled fish with white wine, salad and fruit for a light and elegant Mediterranean feast.
Serves 6
To keep the fish from drying, grill the fish in an aluminum “envelope.” In this recipe, root vegetables and Asian flavoring create a delicacy with very little effort.
✔ 3 large sea bass (lavrak) (about 600 gr.each), filleted, bones removed
✔ 1 carrot, julienned
✔ 1 kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
✔ 1 celery root, peeled and julienned
✔ 1 small beetroot, peeled and julienned
✔ 2 celery stalks, chopped
✔ 3 cm. gingerroot, peeled and sliced very thinly
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ Handful cilantro leaves, chopped
✔ Handful basil leaves, chopped
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ ½ cup white wine
✔ 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Cut large squares of both parchment paper and aluminum foil.
Mix the vegetables, garlic and ginger root in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place each fillet of fish in the middle of a baking paper square. Top with 2 to 3 Tbsp. of the vegetable mixture, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 to 3 Tbsp. wine and ½ Tbsp. soy sauce. Fold the paper into an envelope. Place the wrapped fish in the middle of an aluminum foil square and fold as an envelope, closing all the edges tightly together.
Repeat with all the fish fillets. Keep the fish refrigerated in the envelopes until you are ready to grill.
Grill over hot grill for 8 to 10 minutes on each side.
When ready, open the envelopes carefully and serve.
Serves 6
✔ 6 medium-size whole trout (forel) (about 500 gr. each).
Ask the fishmonger to remove the bones and skeleton but keep them whole.
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ Sea salt
✔ Black pepper
✔ 3 medium to large eggplants For the sauce
✔ 3 ripe tomatoes
✔ 8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
✔ 30 gr. roasted almonds
✔ 3 slices bread, toasted
✔ 3 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar
✔ ½ cup olive oil
✔ Small bunch parsley, leaves only
✔ Salt and pepper To prepare the Romesco sauce: Cut tomatoes into quarters and roast in a preheated 220° oven until they are soft and slightly burnt.
Remove from the oven and place in a food processor bowl. Add parsley, almonds, toasted bread, vinegar and seasonings. Start grinding and drizzle the olive oil while the processor is working, until it turns into a thick paste. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Roast the eggplants on an open fire or grill on all sides. Remove from heat and carefully peel the burnt skin. Transfer the eggplant flesh to a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplants and add 4 to 5 Tbsp. of the Romesco sauce to the eggplant. Mix well.
Stuff the fish bellies with the eggplant mixture and grill over low heat.
If you have one, use a special fish grilling basket. If not, oil the grill lightly and do not move the fish while grilling, to keep the skin from sticking to the grill. To shorten the grilling time, cover the grill or place a metal lid or a deep metal bowl or baking sheet over the fish. This method also adds a smoky flavor to the fish.
Serves 6
The hot sauce and grilled vegetables complement the fleshy fish.
✔ A 2 kg. meager (similar to European sea bass, mussar yam), sliced into 200 to 220 gr. steaks
✔ 3 red peppers
✔ 3 yellow peppers
✔ 1 fennel bulb, cut into 6
✔ 6 green onions
✔ 3 tomatoes, halved
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ Salt and pepper
For the piri piri sauce
✔ 4 oven-roasted red peppers
✔ 1 heaping tsp. sweet paprika
✔ 1 level tsp. hot paprika
✔ ½ tsp. smoked paprika
✔ 1 small bunch parsley, leaves only
✔ 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
✔ 1 level Tbsp. minced garlic
✔ ½ cup olive oil
✔ Salt and pepper
To prepare the piri piri: Place all the ingredients except the oil in a blender. Blend while drizzling the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Brush the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Turn the grill on medium. Wait until the grill is ready, and roast the vegetables.
When the vegetables are done, pat dry the fish steaks, season with salt and pepper and place on the grill.
Grill the fish about 7 to 8 minutes on each side.
When the fish is cooked, serve with vegetables and piri piri sauce on the side.
Makes 6
Season the salmon with tomato and basil vinaigrette for a light and tasty alternative to meat skewers.
✔ 1.2 kg. salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, cut into 1½ x 1½ cm. cubes
✔12 red cherry tomatoes
✔ 12 yellow cherry tomatoes
✔ 12 striped cherry tomatoes
✔ Olive oil
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 12 small skewers
For the vinaigrette
✔ 3 medium-size tomatoes
✔ 5 cloves garlic, sliced
✔ 200 ml. olive oil
✔ 1 level tsp. fennel seeds
✔ 2 cm. gingerroot, peeled and grated
✔ ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
✔ Salt and pepper To prepare vinaigrette: Heat oil and fennel seeds in a large skillet. Add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute. When the garlic begins to turn golden, add the tomatoes and ginger root. Cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, mixing from time to time. When the tomatoes seem to melt into the oil, remove from heat and transfer to a blender.
Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and grind until smooth and thick. Refrigerate the vinaigrette until ready to use.
Arrange the fish cubes on the skewers, alternating with the cherry tomatoes. Brush the fish with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You may also brush the fish during the grilling.
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water first. Grill the fish over low heat until seared outside but still medium-rare inside.
Serve immediately with the vinaigrette.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Eyal Lavi, chef of Rokach 73 Restaurant, Tel Aviv; Rokach Shuk, Tel Aviv Port Farmers’ Market; and Rokach Yam at the Jaffa Port.