For our last Passover entrée, I am going to share with you a very special fish recipe courtesy of my fiance’s nephew’s wife, Sharone. Sharone is Sephardic Jew with Moroccan ancestry. She also happens to be a very talented cook; her Mediterranean-influenced dishes are always healthy and tasty.
According to Sharone, it’s customary in many Sephardic families to eat fish every Friday night for Erev Shabbat. Her family was very traditional, so growing up they would always eat fish on Friday night. While the type of fish would change from week to week, the basic method of preparation was always the same. Sharone’s little girl nicknamed this recipe “Maman’s Fish”—Maman is what she calls her grandmother, Sharone’s mom, who taught her the recipe. I like this name, so I have taken to calling it that as well. :)
I think this dish would be fabulous as the centerpiece of a healthy Seder meal, or for any day of the year. It also happens to be super easy to make!
Next week, I’ll be covering Seder side dishes. Hope you all have a great weekend, Shabbat Shalom!
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- 4 boneless fish fillets (best if you use a firm, dense fish like halibut or snapper)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, cut into large pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into long thin strips
- 5 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 3 large dried red chili peppers
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 heaping tbsp paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For this recipe, you will need a sauté pan, it’s like a wide, deep skillet with higher sides. Before you start cooking, reserve a few pieces of the cilantro for garnish.
- Place cilantro, bell pepper slices, garlic and chili peppers in the bottom of the pan to create a “bed” for the fish.
- Place fish fillets on top of the other ingredients. Season fillets generously with salt and pepper, then sprinkle turmeric evenly across fillets.
- Add 1 ½ cups of water to the pan. Cover pan, turn flame on high, and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, reduce heat to medium and uncover the pan. Mixture should be simmering lightly at this point. Allow mixture to simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, basting fillets periodically, until the water reduces by half and turns yellow.
- In a small bowl, mix together olive oil and paprika with a fork. Pour red oil mixture over the fish fillets, coating them evenly. Let the fish simmer uncovered for 20 minutes more, basting frequently. Fish is done when liquid is reduced to about a quarter of what it was originally, and the fish has turned a rich red color.
- Serve fish and bell peppers together with the grain and/or vegetable of your choice. I like to serve it with a starch like mashed potatoes (or couscous, if it’s not Passover); the red sauce from the pan can be poured over the top of the fish and the potatoes. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
- You can create some interesting variations on this recipe by changing the ingredients in the bottom of the pan (the “bed” for the fish fillets). Try peeled lemon slices (no peel or the fish will turn bitter), carrot sticks, garbanzo beans with red chili pepper flakes, or pitted green olives. Enjoy!