Many years ago, friends used to ask me for restaurant recommendations – 3 kids and a mortgage later and it’s safe to say that we don’t get out anywhere near as much as we’d like to. Thankfully, my wife and I love to cook and so we can try to recreate the experience at home without the hassle and expense of a baby sitter and at a fraction of the cost.
I had promised to pick up something nice on my way home and decided that, rather than going for a piece of beef which would be my normal recourse, I’d go past everyone’s favourite fish guy – David Dagim and see what he had to suggest. David has been selling top quality fish in the shuk for decades. He’s the only place which I trust for sushi quality fish in Jerusalem. The last couple of times I’ve been there, it was his son who helped me out and so too I found myself asking for some suggesting this time before settling on a decent sized trout. I could certainly have got away with something a little smaller with hindsight (it weighed more than a kilo) but it just looked so beautiful staring at me from the display case!
I picked up half a kilo of great looking green beans and some assorted herbs and headed for home.
The beauty of roasted fish is that it requires very little effort. I put some red rice on the stove, turned the oven up high (250c) and then turned to the fish. Already cleaned (get your fishmonger to do this for you), I simply made some slashes in the skin, rubbed it with Olive oil and lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper. I slid some lemon slices and parsley (most herds work well too, alone or in combination) into the cavity along with some more salt and pepper.
Whilst it was cooking, I trimmed the green beans and boiled up a big pan of water. Towards the end of the fish’s cooking time I plunged the beans into the water for 2 – 3 minutes, drained them and then put them straight on the plate with a drop or two of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
There was more than enough fish to feed 3 or 4 – next time I’ll get a slightly smaller example! Just be careful with the bones.
Fish (for two)
1 large whole trout or 2 small ones (about a kilo in all) – this would work well for bunch of other firm non-oily fish
Juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
Make some slashes in the flesh of the fish, rub with olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper (you can put herbs, garlic, lemon slices etc in the slashes too if you fancy). Fill the cavity with herbs, salt and pepper – garlic and onion slice would also be delicious.
Cook in a very hot oven preheated – 250 degrees celsius for 18 – 20 minutes
1 cup red rice
Cook in exactly the same way as you do normal rice – it just takes a little longer. Heat the oil, add the rice and stir fry for about 90 seconds. Add 2.5 cups of water for each cup of rice used. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer. Add more water if necessary.
1/2 kilo trimmed green beans
Boil a large pan of water. Add the beans and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and flaky sea salt. If you’re planning on serving these cold, stop the cooking process asap by transferring from the pan to cold water – otherwise they’ll go mushy and lose their crispness and colour.