on new year's eve (rosh hashanah), the jews traditionally serve fish. bream or other white fish is accepted for this menu, and their recipes are ingenious and very interesting. the most popular jewish fish recipe is "gefilte fish", a cold appetizer consisting of chopped fish balls mixed with various vegetables and spices, served with lettuce, sliced carrots and horseradish sauce (i will also show you this recipe, but now i've prepared something more special).
today we will cook a typical recipe for the jewish new year celebration, very festive and delicious. tradition says that in the new year's celebration it's good to eat fish head because rosh hashanah means the beginning of the year and the fish is a symbol of fertility and abundance.
on the second day of rosh hashanah, the jews serve a seasonal fruit, often a pomegranate, the symbol of virtue (the pomegranate seeds are similar to the laws of moses) and the hope of a year full of good works.
this recipe combines the two traditions, and the result is spectacular. the bream fish gets a special flavor of pomegranate and herbs and the colorful sauce adds a touch of distinction and perfume.
-a whole sea bream (or how many you want)
-pomegranate essence (optional)
-a little olive oil
-a small red onion
-2 cloves of garlic
note that we've respected the tradition and we only have "bio" ingredients. the fish freshness and quality will be reflected in the final result, because you will feel the fresh bream's tenderness accompanied by fresh and flavorful sauce.
the next step is not mandatory, but it is preferable if you want a very aromatic bream. we will marinate the fish in pomegranate sauce. you can skip this step and simply prepare it in the pan (with water, salt and oil) and just spray it with pomegranate sauce at the end, but it will not have that special taste, plus some of the fish's flavor is lost in the sauce in the pan.
i recommend you bake the bream after a marinating it. the cooking technique will be by packaging in aluminum foil, to keep the entire flavor inside and, last but not least, to look festive.
how do we marinate a fish? first wash the well cleaned fish, then drain and wipe and make some incisions on each side. the incisions allow the marinade to have a deeper contact with the fish. grease an aluminum foil with a little olive oil and place the sea bream in the middle. it is important to brush the foil, so that fish will not stick to it.
add salt and pepper, both inside and outside. then fill the belly of the fish with a thick slice of lemon and a few leaves of coriander (or parsley). this allows an uniform and discreet flavoring, very important to obtain an exceptional result.
sprinkle pomegranate sauce on the sea bream. massage the fish well on both sides, so the pomegranate sauce will penetrate very well the notches.
pack the bream, gathering the foil's edges over the fish. thus, the sea bream is perfectly covered and the juices can't leak, the sea bream will be baked in its own juice and pomegranate sauce.
leave it in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours and then for another 30 minutes at room temperature. then bake at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.
meanwhile, prepare the sauce. fry the chopped onion in very little olive oil. add the crushed or finely chopped garlic.
then add a little warm water and a tablespoon of pomegranate concentrate (or fresh pomegranate juice). sprinkle some salt and pepper.
boil until it reduces and gets slightly syrupy.
mince the basil and the coriander (if the coriander’s taste is too strong, add also parsley or put only parsley).
turn off the heat; add herbs and the pomegranate seeds.
loosen the aluminum foil. check if the fish is well done.
pour the hot and flavored pomegranate sauce over each fish, so to cover well with red seeds and greens.
the combination is great, and the fish retains the entire flavor by cooking ii in its own sauce. i highly recommend this recipe, perfect for days of lent when fish is served.
i did not boil the fresh pomegranate seeds, just to keep all the natural antioxidants.
the bible says that israel's land was blessed with pomegranates. being a lent time, i think a recipe for fish with pomegranate is more than a great dining experience. taste the fruits of the blessed earth and strengthen your faith.
purify your thoughts; wait for the birth of the savior with joy and hope!
if god wanted us to believe, to keep a lent of joy before the birth of his son, then do so that this lent will indeed be filled with joy, good thoughts, lovely words and pleasantly warm cooked food with faith and much respect for nature.
i hope that this culinary pilgrimage will bring you closer to the spirit of christmas.