The yeshiva was hosting a special occasion -- the dedication of a new Sefer Torah given as a gift by the Harari Family. With the family's feedback, we put together the following elegant, light meal.

Appetizers

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 3 tbsps. wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. garlic
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup oilve oil
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

 

Chop parsley and cilantro medium fine. Chop hot pepper fine. Add to mixture. Add all other ingredients. Mix and serve or place all ingredients in a blender, mix and serve.

 

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Cherry Tomato and Lemon Salad

  • 2 large lemons
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsps. chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

 

Trim ends of both lemons, then stand lemons on a cut side and cut peel, including all white pith, from lemons with a sharp paring knife. Cut segments free from membranes, then cut segments crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss lemon segments gently with sugar in a bowl.

Makes 4 servings.

 

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Orange, Tomato, Broccoli and Sweet Onion Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

  • 2 cups 3/4-inch pieces of broccoli florets (about 8 ozs.)
  • 3 large oranges
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 2 tbsps. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsps. red wine vinegar

 

Steam broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Place broccoli in a large bowl. Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Holding oranges over a small bowl to catch the juice, cut between the membranes to release the segments. Cut each orange segment crosswise into 3 pieces. Add orange pieces, tomatoes, onion, and fresh basil to the bowl with the broccoli.

Add the oil and vinegar to the bowl with the collected orange juice; whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates and serve.

 

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Main Course

 

Herbed Fish Cakes with Green Horseradish Sauce

  • 1 3/4 to 2 lbs. skinless Nile perch fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (generous) minced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 1/2 tbsps. (or more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided into 3 1/2 tbsps. and 1 tbsp.
  • 1 1/2 tsps. coarse kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • Green Horseradish Sauce (see recipe below)

 

Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using one/off turns, finely chop half of fish in processor (do not puree to paste); transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining fish. Mix in onion, parsley, cilantro, 3 1/2 tbsps. oil, salt and pepper. Using wet hands and generous 1/4 cupful for each, shape mixture into 3 X 2 X 1/2 inch oval cakes. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, saute cakes until opaque in center, adding more oil to skillet by tablespoonfuls as needed about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with horseradish sauce.

Makes 18 servings.

SAUCE

  • 1 10-oz. package fresh chopped spinach, or beet leaves.
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 tbsps. grated white horseradish
  • 3 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsps. dry white wine

 

Place spinach in processor. Add parsley; chop finely. Add next 4 ingredients and 3 tbsps. wine; blend. Add more wine by tablespoonfuls to thin to desired consistence. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

 

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Baked Trout with Fresh Spices, Wine and Fried Leeks

  • 3 trout fresh or frozen
  • 4 fresh lemons
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chopped combination fresh sage, basil, parsley, chives, and thyme
  • 1 leek, cut into small rings
  • crushed pepper
  • salt

 

Remove head, tail and bones from the fish. Divide into 2 fillets. Mix juice of 2 lemons with spice mixture and add wine. Season with salt and pepper.

Dip fish into mixture. Place on oiled baking paper. Cover fish with mixture. Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F. Cook fish 20 minutes. Fry leeks in deep oil. Place on paper towel to drain.

Serve fish garnished with fried leeks.

 

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Salmon with Chili-Persimmon Salsa

  • 1 10-oz. persimmon, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsps. minced seeded Serrano chili
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 2 6-oz. salmon fillets

 

Prepare oven (medium-high heat). Combine first 7 ingredients in small bowl; mix in 1 1/2 tbsps. oil. Season salsa with salt and pepper. Brush salmon with remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil. Bake until just opaque in center, about 15 minutes. Serve with salsa.

Makes 2 servings; can be doubled.

 

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Side Dish

Duet of Roasted Potatoes

  • 8 tbsps. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mixed herbs (such as thyme, marjoram and sage)
  • 3 tbsps. minced garlic

 

Position racks in bottom third and top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush each of 2 heavy large rimmed baking sheets with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Place remaining 4 tbsps. olive oil in very large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Divide potato mixture between prepared baking sheets.

Roast potatoes 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reverse position of sheets and continue to roast until potatoes are golden brown and tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes to bowl and serve.

Makes 10 servings.

 

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Dessert
Strawberry Coulis

  • 1-lb. bag frozen or fresh unsweetened strawberries (thawed)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsps. semi-dry white wine
  • 6 tbsps. (about) sugar, divided into 4 plus 2
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice

 

Place berries, wine, and 4 tbsps. sugar in blender; puree. Pour into medium saucepan. Add cloves, bay leaves, and allspice. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 8 minutes.

Strain puree into medium bowl. Discard solids in strainer. Add 2 tbsps. sugar if desired.

Makes about 2 cups.

 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 ozs. margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)

 

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. Combine margarine, sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Add flour mixture and stir well. Mix in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375° F for 8-10 minutes.