Pascale's Kitchen: Two light courses

Recipes for crispy fish and dried fruit and nut cake.

Crispy fish (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Crispy fish
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Crispy Fish
The best way to serve crispy fried fish is with a half lemon, which sharpens the flavor of the fish. You can squeeze the lemon over the fish when you’re sitting at the table. Another great way to serve fried fish is with a spicy sauce or finely chopped herb salad with chili pepper and lemon juice. Small fish are tastiest served straight from the frying pan, while they’re still hot and crispy.
■ 500 gr. small fish, such as red mullet or sardines
■ Lemon juice
■ 1 cup flour, sifted
■ ½ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) – optional
■ ½ tsp. salt
■ ½ tsp. dried garlic
■ 1 tsp. mix of spicy herbs, or mixture of black pepper, chili pepper and ½ tsp. cumin
■ 2 eggs
■ 3 Tbsp. water
■ Oil for deep-frying
■ Half lemons for serving with fish
Wash the fish well and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle kosher salt and lemon juice on top and let the fish sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry.
Pour the flour (and panko, if using) in a medium bowl and add herbs. Mix well. In another bowl, beat the eggs and then add the water.
Heat the oil for deep-frying. Oil must be at least 4 cm. deep. Place each fish in the flour mixture, then in the egg and then place in oil. When it’s cooked, remove and place on paper towels. Serve while still hot, with a slice of lemon.
Dried fruit and nut cake
Spring is almost here, so to celebrate the blossoms and wonderful scent of renewal in the air, I’m happy to provide you with a recipe for dried fruit cake that’s very easy to prepare.
It’s a wonderful time to celebrate our connection with Mother Earth as well as the special connection we Jews have to the Land of Israel. The dried fruit cake that I’m going to teach you to make is a wonderful opportunity for us to express our deep connection with the land.
After the cake has finished baking, let it cool, and then slice it very thinly. This way, you will be able to see the beautiful texture of the dried fruits. If your family and friends don’t devour the entire cake straightaway, you’ll be happy to know that this cake can keep in your fridge for up to 30 days.
Bake in 30-cm. loaf pan
■ 150 gr. walnuts, pecans, pistachios or almonds (or any combination of the above)
■ 200 gr. assorted dried fruits: apricots, cranberries, raisins, papaya, pineapple, and pears
■ 5 Tbsp. demerara sugar
■ 7 Tbsp. baking flour or sifted wheat flour
■ 2 large eggs
For decoration:
■ 1 heaping Tbsp. sesame seeds
■ 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds, shelled
In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well. (Don’t be concerned if it feels like there aren’t enough eggs in the mixture – continue mixing, and in the end it will come out well.)
Transfer the mixture to a pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle sesame and sunflower seeds on top. Place tray on middle rack in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 180°, until it has turned golden brown.
Let cake cool completely. Using a serrated knife, cut cake into extremely thin pieces.
Tipascale The texture and shape of the cake depend on the makeup of the ingredients you used. If you’d like your cake to stay fresh for a longer period of time, you should increase the ratio of nuts to fruit, and of course store the cake in the fridge. In my experience, for best results, use 100 gr. almonds, 100 gr. walnuts, 100 gr. pecans and pistachios, and 50 gr. apricots and plums. The more fruits you use, the moister and softer the cake will be.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.