Pascale’s Kitchen: From oven to table

I like to switch up the filling to keep things exciting – sometimes I use a beef filling, other times quinoa, which can be mixed with dried fruits.

 Stuffed peppers (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Stuffed peppers
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

This week, I’m bringing recipes for three dishes that have one thing in common: They are all easy and challenging at the same time. 

What is challenging about them? Well, all three of them do entail a few steps in the preparation stage, but once you put them in the oven, you don’t need to do anything else, and when it’s finished cooking, the pan can be brought straight to the table from the oven. 

The first recipe is for salmon with vegetables, which is perfect to serve as the main dish for any meal. You don’t need to use any extra bowls or pots when preparing it, and the baking dish can be brought straight to the table.

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Make sure that you pick out a gorgeous fish fillet at the store. Then, all you have to do is cover it with the spread, and add the vegetables all around the sides of the dish. Use any type of vegetables you want, but make sure to use vegetables that all need about the same amount of time in the oven. 

 Rice and meet casserole (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Rice and meet casserole (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The second dish I’m bringing you this week is Roz Moh’shi, a rice and meat casserole that hails from Tunisian cuisine. This dish, which in some households is traditionally served on Seder night, is made up of a layer of rice, then a meat mixture, then more rice. I personally love serving this dish all year long. It can be prepared as one large casserole, but I like to go an extra step and prepare little individual casseroles baked in a muffin tin. I remove each mini casserole from the paper liners, then stack them on a platter adorned with lettuce and roquette leaves. 

The third dish is a recipe for stuffed peppers. I love any recipe involving stuffed vegetables, whether it be cabbage, grape leaves, zucchini, eggplant, potatoes or, of course, bell peppers. What’s most fun about using bell peppers is that you can use an assortment of different colored peppers.

I like to switch up the filling to keep things exciting – sometimes I use a beef filling, other times quinoa, which can be mixed with dried fruits.

This time, I used mini bell peppers, which means there’ll be a little more work to do, but the results are stunning, so it’s worth it. I wanted the dish to be vegetarian, and so I stuffed the peppers with rice, tehina and lots of spices.

STUFFED PEPPERS

Makes 6 servings. 

  • 8-10 mini bell peppers (yellow, red, orange or green)

Filling: 

  • 1¼ cups round rice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 Tbsp. tehina
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 3 mint sprigs
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into small pieces
  • 1 spicy red or green pepper, chopped finely
  • 1 pinch ginger
  • 1 tsp. pomegranate concentrate
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauce: 

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 spicy red pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 lemon slices
  • 1½-2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. harissa

Cut off the tops of the peppers, and put them aside for later. Cut out the pith and seeds from the peppers and rinse well. 

To prepare the filling, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spoon the filling into the peppers, and place the pepper tops over the filling. 

To prepare the sauce, cut all of the vegetables into thin strips. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté. Add the spices and the water and bring to a boil. 

Arrange the stuffed peppers in a flat, round baking dish. Carefully pour the sauce around the peppers (add more water if necessary). Cover with a sheet of baking paper, then aluminum foil on top. 

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 30-40 minutes until the peppers have softened and the liquid has been absorbed. Serve hot. 

Level of difficulty: Medium.Time: 1.5 hours. Status: Parve.

 Salmon and vegetables (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Salmon and vegetables (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
SALMON AND VEGETABLES

Makes 8-10 servings.

  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp. spice rub (cumin, coriander, paprika or fish mix)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. dried tomato paste or olive tapenade or pesto
  • 1 tsp. pickled lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 salmon filet
  • 4-5 slices fresh lemon
  • Sides:
  • Basket cherry tomatoes of varying colors
  • 1 red onion or scallion, sliced
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • ½ cup green olives, pitted
  • 2 Tbsp. capers (optional)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tsp. dried tomato paste
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped 

Place the crushed garlic in a large bowl, then add the spices, lemon juice, tomato paste, pickled lemon, salt, pepper and oil. Mix well.

Place a sheet of baking paper on a tray, then lay the salmon fillet on it, with the skin facedown. Then, spread the mixture all over the salmon (if you have some left over, you can store in the fridge). 

Add the lemon slices on top of the salmon. 

Wash the tomatoes well and remove the stems. Place them all around the salmon. Add the onion slices, olives, capers and dried tomatoes. Add the tomato paste and the rest of the mixture that you’d spread on top of the fish. Add the basil and parsley leaves. 

Sprinkle some olive oil on everything, then cook the salmon in an oven that has been preheated to 200° for 20-25 minutes. Remove and serve. 

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 30 minutes. Status: Parve.

RICE AND MEAT CASSEROLE

Makes 12-14 servings. 

  • 2 cups Persian rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 150 gr. beef shoulder
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into pieces
  • 6 parsley sprigs, chopped finely
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½-¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup oil

Pour the rice into a medium pot and add water to cover. Cook over a medium flame for 30 minutes until the rice has softened. Remove from the flame and rinse well in a colander. 

Place the beef in a small pot and pour on water to cover. Cook over a medium flame for 40 minutes or until the beef has softened. Drain and let the beef come to room temperature. 

Place the drained rice in a large bowl. Add half of the turmeric, pepper and salt. While mixing, add the three eggs, one at a time, while mixing. Add the lemon juice and mix well. 

Once the beef has cooled, cut into small cubes or pull apart. Put the beef pieces in a separate bowl, then add the parsley, onion and the hard-boiled eggs. Mix well, then add the rest of the spices and mix again.

Grease a muffin tin, line it with paper liners, and place it in the oven so it can heat up. Take the tray out of oven. Spoon in a layer of rice in all the cavities, then a layer of beef, then another layer of rice.

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 30-40 minutes. Serve hot. 

Level of difficulty: Easy-medium.Time: 1.5-2 hours. Status: Meat.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.