A (Veritable) Fish Out Of Water

I was raised like any good Ashkenazi girl to believe that gefilte fish was the fish course that automatically came before any yontif meal. My mom, balabusta that she is, made it from scratch.
While I can make it from scratch, too — thanks to all those year chopping and mixing the stuff for my mother — I have updated my recipes to utilize the frozen variety at the grocery store (A&B, while a tad pricey than some of the others is still my favorite brand). I have also opened my mind to the possibility that different types of fish can serve as a first course.
I'm not too proud to say that some of the best recipes I've got come from readers and fellow foodies who love to share. Most of these recipes can be made ahead of time, and served as an appetizer or side dish for any dairy meal.
For the most part, you can mix or exchange different types of smoked or grilled fish (salmon, white fish, trout, etc.), according to what you prefer and what is available.
I don't have any typically Sephardi fish recipes, so if any helpful reader has a family favorite, please e-mail them to me ([email protected]) so I can include them in a future column.
Smoked Trout and Potatoes
(Fish, Dairy or Pareve)
    3 oz. smoked-trout fillet, skinned, boned and flaked
    2 tsps. oil
    6 green onions, chopped
    1/2 sweet red bell pepper, diced
    4 cups frozen hash-brown potatoes, defrosted
    1/2 cup milk or nondairy creamer or soy milk
    3 Tbsps. chopped fresh dill, divided
    salt and pepper, to taste
    2 Tbsps. sour cream or pareve sour cream
Heat oil in a skillet.
Add the green onions and red pepper, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, until they brown in spots and become crusty, 7 to 8 minutes more.
Stir in the milk. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the trout and 2 tablespoons dill. Cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve topped with sour cream and remaining tablespoon of dill.
Serves 4.
Smoked Trout and Mixed-Veggie Salad
(Fish and Pareve)
    1 cup fresh chopped parsley
    7 Tbsps. olive oil
    2 Tbsps., plus 1 tsp., fresh lemon juice, divided
    1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon zest
    1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
    1 lb. cooked potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
    1/2-1 lb. yellow summer squash or zucchini, very thinly sliced
    3 large tomatoes, cut into chunks
    4 stalks of celery, diced
    black pepper
    1/2-1 lb. smoked trout, broken into flakes
In the bowl blender or food processor, combine the parsley, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Process to combine and set aside.
In a bowl, combine the potatoes, celery and squash with a little of the dressing. Gently toss to coat.
Add the tomato wedges, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and a little more dressing. Toss to coat.
Divide the salad up between six plates and sprinkle the trout on the top. Drizzle a little more dressing on top.
Serves 6.
Salmon Wontons
(Fish and Pareve)
    23 wonton wrappers
    8 oz. grilled salmon, cold and flaked
    2 green onions or shallots, chopped
    1 tsp. minced garlic
    2 tsps. soy sauce
    2 tsps. rice vinegar
    1 cup olive oil
    4 cups peanut oil for deep-frying
    salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a bowl, combine the flaked salmon with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix to combine.
Add the green onions, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar; mix to combine. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Working with one wrapper at a time, place 2 teaspoons of the mixture in the center of the wrapper, brush the edges with water and close them, pressing well on the edges. Make sure that they are tightly sealed. Keep the wontons covered with a damp kitchen towel as you are working.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer the wontons for about 2 minutes on each side until they are golden.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled. It can be made ahead of time, but undercook them slightly, and then reheat them on a cookie sheet until they are bubbly and golden-brown.
Serve with duck sauce, sweet-and-sour sauce or any other of your favorite dipping sauce.
Serves 6.
Smoked Salmon and Fresh Grapefruit Salad
(Fish and Pareve)
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1 Tbsp. honey-Dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp. grated grapefruit peel
    1 tsp. fresh grapefruit juice
    3 Granny Smith apples (about 11/4 lbs.), unpeeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    3/4 cup chopped celery
    3/4 cup chopped radishes
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    3/4 cup raisins
    1/2 cup diced fresh grapefruit sections
    1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
    3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
    1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
    2/3-1 lb. smoked salmon, flaked
In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, grapefruit peel and grapefruit juice. Whisk until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
In a large salad bowl, combine the apples, celery, radishes, cranberries, raisins, grapefruit, red onion, pecans, watercress and smoked salmon.
Fold in the dressing and mix to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Apple, Cherry and Smoked Trout Salad
(Fish and Pareve)
    3 Tbsps. mayonnaise
    3 Tbsps. rice-wine vinegar
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    1/4 tsp. paprika
    1 head of red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (3 cups)
    3/4-1 lb. skinless smoked trout fillets, boned and flaked
    2 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
    1/2 cup dried cherries
    1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, paprika and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with the trout, apple, cherries, parsley and red onion.
Add the dressing and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to plates and serve.
Serves 6.
Pistachio and White Fish Salad
(Fish and Pareve)
    4 Tbsps. apple cider or rice-wine vinegar
    2 Tbsps. raspberry
    2 Tbsps. olive oil
    1/2 tsp. black pepper
    1/3 cup dried cranberries
    6 cups mixed salad greens
    1/2 lb. smoked white fish
    2 carrots, shredded fine
    1/2 cup shelled pistachios
    croutons (optional)
In a jar with a tight lid, combine the vinegar, raspberry preserves, olive oil and black pepper.
Add the cranberries. Shake the container well to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Divide the salad between six plates.
Top each one with the shredded carrots, then the smoked trout, then top with the croutons and pistachios.
Drizzle the dressing over top each serving.
Serves 6.
Smoked Trout Lettuce Wraps
(Fish and Pareve)
    2 medium carrots, peeled
    1/2 unpeeled English hothouse cucumber (do not remove seeds)
    1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
    1/4 cup thinly sliced jalapeño peppers (about 2 large)
    2 Tbsps. fresh lime juice or unseasoned rice vinegar
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1 Tbsp. soy sauce
    8-10 oz. smoked trout or white fish, broken into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
    1 cup diced cherry or grape tomatoes
    1/2 cup whole fresh mint leaves
    1/2 cup small whole fresh basil leaves
    16 small to medium inner leaves of romaine lettuce (from about 2 hearts of romaine)
    1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
    1/4 cup finely chopped, lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and cucumber lengthwise into ribbons. Then cut the ribbons into 3-inch-long sections, then cut sections into matchstick-size strips.
Place in a large bowl.
Add the shallots, jalapeños, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. Let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Add the trout pieces and tomatoes to vegetable mixture, and toss to blend.
Transfer the trout-vegetable mixture to a large strainer and drain off the liquid.
Return the trout-vegetable mixture to the same bowl. Add the mint and basil; toss to blend.
Arrange the lettuce leaves on large platter. Divide the trout-vegetable salad among lettuce leaves. Drizzle the chili sauce over each leaf and sprinkle with peanuts.
Serves 4.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance food writer and the author of Perfectly Pareve. E-mail her at: [email protected] verizon.net


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