Shavuot is just round the corner, and with it, the dairy meals we are accustomed to eating. There are several explanations for how this tradition came about. One is that when Bnei Yisrael received the Torah and they were bound for the first time by the the laws of kashrut. But they didn’t have the proper slaughtering knives they would need to prepare kosher meat, so they had to eat a dairy meal after receiving the Torah. One of my favorite explanations is that the Torah is equated with milk, as it is written in Song of Songs 4:11, “Like honey and milk (the Torah) lies under your tongue”. So like milk, the Torah sustains us and therefore a dairy meal on Shavuot celebrates the nourishing quality of the Torah. For additional explanations, please see Aish.com.
But let’s take the Shavuot meal one step at a time…While this a great opportunity to break out the cheesy lasagnas, delicious quichesand of course, the cheesecake for dessert (recipe later this week), let’s not forget about a protein to tie it all together. There’s nothing like fish to make a dairy meal complete.
One of my favorite reasons for making fish is that it’s so quick to prepare and to cook. This recipe is the simplest way to cook a large fillet of fish – I use this for salmon or any large white fish fillet. Preferably it should be one large piece, but you can also use the same recipe for two or three smaller pieces (see the pictures where I was using very delicious frozen Sun Fish fillets, which are now available in Israel and claim to be South African hake).
The principle is the same for all fish – seal the fillet in foil with light seasoning and bake for about 20-25 minutes, and you can’t go wrong with this fish that steams in its own liquid. It’s light, low fat and the added benefit is that the house doesn’t smell fishy afterwards.
OVEN STEAMED FISH FILLET
1-1½ kg (2½-3½lb) fish fillet – salmon, or any other firm white fish.
A little olive oil
About ¼ cup of white wine
Juice of half a lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic sliced
Salt and pepper
How to do it
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
2. Place your fillet in the center of a large piece of foil on a baking tray – the foil needs to be big enough to cover the entire fillet loosely.
3. Rub a little olive oil into the fish on both sides. Season with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle the garlic slices evenly over the fish and squeeze the lemon. Drizzle the wine over the fish – don’t drench it.
4. Gather the foil up and seal it over the fish, making sure there is space between the foil and the fish – this enables the fish to steam cook.
5. Place the baking tray on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Check to see if the fish is cooked – insert a fork into the fattest part of the fish – if you feel resistance, let the fish cook for another 5 minutes. If the fish flakes with little resistance, then it is ready. Don’t overcook…
6. Remove the fish and serve hot or cold.
Serves about 8.
Serve with home made tartar sauce: Finely chop 2-3 dill pickles, half a small onion and about a quarter cup of capers. Crush one small clove of garlic. Mix all into about 3/4 cup of mayonnaise seasoned with salt and pepper.