4 of the Sephardic recipes we used

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Registered: 08-14-2000
4 of the Sephardic recipes we used
Wed, 05-17-2006 - 12:04am

Gazpacho Sevillano

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 whole pimiento (from can)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fine dry crumbs
8 large, ripe, local tomatoes or 1 large can (1lb., 14 oz.) best quality peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons vinegar
Water as needed
Yolk of 1 hard-boiled egg
3 scallions, minced

Mash the garlic cloves with salt to a paste; add the pimiento and mash again to a paste. (A mortar and pestle are essential in a Spanish kitchen.) Work in the olive oil and bread crumbs. If fresh tomatoes are used, scald quickly with boiling water, peel off skins, quarter, and puree in an electric blender. Force through sieve to remove seeds. If canned tomatoes are used, simply force through sieve. Combine with garlic paste and vinegar, return to blender, and beat until thick and smooth. Chill thoroughly. When ready to serve, add ice-cold water (about 3 cups) and add more salt if needed. Pass sieved egg yolk and minced scallions as garnish. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Mark & Max’s notes: We used jarred garlic in water. We substituted 1 tblsp. roasted red bell pepper strips for the pimiento. We did not have a mortar and pestle. We had Michael’s hands and the back of a large spoon! The crumbs were from old Challah that had been frozen. The bread was cut into slices, toasted, and crumbled by Henry. We were able to find gorgeous tomatoes, although not local, were quite flavorful. We rounded out the quantity, flavor, texture and color of the Gazpacho with plum tomatoes. We had about 2/3 regular tomatoes and 1/3 plum. We never scalded or seeded the tomatoes, just ran them through the food-processor and used them immediately. However, we did pick out skins that became separated from the pureeing process. We also had to re-process some pieces of tomato that didn’t get pureed the first time around. The vinegar we used was red-wine vinegar. We also supplied chopped cucumber as additional garnish. Max detests green-tinged egg yolks. To get the bright yellow yolks, follow her method. Max places raw eggs in tepid water and places the pot on the range. As soon as the water comes to a rolling boil, the pot is removed from the heat and the eggs remain in the water until the water is cool enough to touch (at least an hour).

Orange & Olive Noir Salad

3 medium oranges
½ lb. black olives
3 tblsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsps. ground paprika
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1. Peel the oranges, removing the pith. Divide the oranges into sections. Remove the seeds, then cut the sections into 1-inch pieces.
2. Mix the orange pieces and all the other ingredients together. Toss well to mix.
Serve cool or at room temperature.

Mark & Max’s notes: we used navel oranges to eliminate the seeds and to expedite peeling. We also used plain, canned black olives in water. Mark tended to be a bit heavy-handed on the cumin, so if you want this to taste like what you ate at synagogue, add more cumin to taste.

Stewed Fish (Peschado Plaki l)

Another variation on the classic fish and vegetable theme. This version, in which tomato paste and a pinch of sugar are added to the sauce, is briefly stewed and makes an ideal choice for the cook in a hurry.

6 slices halibut (or other not-too-bony, firm white fish) in 1½” slices
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tblsps. tomato paste
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
2 tblsps. chopped dill
5 grindings fresh pepper

In a deep skillet large enough to hold the fish and all the vegetables, heat the oil and sauté the onions slightly. Add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato paste, celery, salt, sugar and bay leaf. Add the water and cook for 10 minutes over high heat. Add the slices of fish, lower the heat, and poach until cooked, 10 to 12 minutes. Take the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. Arrange the slices of fish on a serving dish, the tomato mixture remaining in the skillet. To the skillet, add the chopped dill and pepper. Taste, correct the seasonings to taste, and pour over the fish. Let it stand a few hours before serving at room temperature*.

Mark & Max’s notes: we couldn’t find halibut and had to substitute flounder fillets. We used Vidalia onions, and substituted dried dill weed for fresh dill. Mark took the most liberty with this dish. He sautéed the celery first, adding onions when the celery started to soften. In a separate skillet, he heated 4 tablespoons of olive oil and sautéed 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, added the tomatoes, and ½ cup of roasted red bell pepper strips. Into this tomato mixture, he added 1/3 cup of water, ½ stick of butter, the bay leaf, sugar and salt, and a pinch of ground white pepper. He then combined all the vegetables and seasonings, added the fish and continued from there.

*Important note: to handle this dish safely, only let it stand about 30 to 45 minutes.

Spinach Catalan

1 lb. Spinach
1 tblsp. Minced garlic
½ cup white or golden raisins
½ cup pine nuts
½ tsp. nutmeg

Steam or sauté spinach, adding other ingredients to taste.

Mark & Max’s note: this recipe came to us without any measurements or guidelines, the only direction being to steam the spinach and add other ingredients. Without a steamer available in the synagogue kitchen, we opted to sauté. The measurements of the other ingredients are just our guesses. The garlic we used was peeled, minced garlic in water (available in supermarkets). Max also likes this with a little kosher salt added just before serving.
Enjoy, and B'shalom,

In peace,

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Registered: 10-31-2004
Sun, 05-21-2006 - 3:28pm
Those recipes sound amazing!