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Pascale’s Kitchen: Savory delicacies

SC 05/05/2021


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For me, preparing tasty, creative dishes for my loved ones is a wonderful way for me to express my love for them. 
I take healthy, fresh ingredients and concoct something new and creative. It doesn’t matter if I’m preparing a vegan, meat or dairy dish – the strong flavors always manage to bring a smile to the faces of my family and friends who join me in eating these tasty creations. Learn more about Pascale’s Kitchen here>>
One of the categories of foods that I adore making are what I call delicacies, which can be separated into two categories: sweet and savory. The sweet category includes jams, marmalades, candy and chocolate. The savory category includes pickled vegetables, spreads, tapenades, infused olive oil, smoked fish and meat, cheese and special breads. 
This week, I am bringing you recipes for special savory delicacies that we don’t tend to prepare very often, since they require time, patience, ingredients we don’t always have on hand in our pantry, and a love of good food. 
Most people like to keep a few special delicacies on hand that they can bring out when special guests come over to eat, such as artichoke pesto, dried tomatoes with thyme, cured fish eggs, called adam hout in Tunisia and bottarga in Italy. Cured fish eggs are a popular delicacy that is usually served as a starter course with salads and strong alcohol. 
Recently, it’s been difficult to find tins of sardines in the shops, and so when I came upon some, I bought a huge number and decided that I would set about preparing two of my favorite sardine dishes straight away. The first recipe is for stuffed sardines that are filled with spicy sauce made with fish eggs (or hardboiled eggs) mixed with harissa, garlic and herbs. This dish is sometimes called Mogador, after the port city in Morocco. 

The second dish – salted and pickled sardines – always receives accolades from guests, even though it is so easy to prepare. They are fantastic eaten with fresh whole grain bread, black olives and spicy peppers. 
The third dish I’m including today is for North African-style pickled lemons, which can then be blended to make a tasty tapenade. Once you make this once, you’ll realize how much it adds flavor to everything, and you will want to always keep some on hand. The fourth recipe is for crispy mashed potatoes that you brown in the oven for a few minutes. 
STUFFED SARDINES (Mizhozhim)
This recipe hailing from Moroccan cuisine is called Mizhozhim, which means married couple, since the two filets are placed together. 
Makes 8-10 servings.
Filling: 
60 gr. fish eggs or 3 hardboiled eggs crushed with a fork or chopped finely
½-¾ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
3 Tbsp. harissa
5 Tbsp. crushed garlic
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sardines: 
30 sardine fillets (15 whole fish)
1 cup flour, sifted
¼ tsp. salt
2-3 eggs, beaten with 3 Tbsp. water
Oil for frying
Spicy chermoula sauce: 
4 Tbsp. harissa
½ tsp. paprika
Salt, to taste
1 tsp. cumin
4-5 Tbsp. vinegar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. olive oil
5 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. parsley
5-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
To prepare the filling, place all of the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
To prepare the sardines, splay the fish and separate into individual fillets. Place the inside side facing up on your work surface. Spread the filling on the fillet and then cover with another fillet, pressing down gently as if you’re making a sandwich. Prepare the rest of the fillets in the same manner. Arrange the sardines on a serving platter and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge or freezer to set. 
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Take the sardines out of the fridge or freezer. In one bowl, mix the flour with the salt. In a second bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Dip the sardines in the flour and the egg and then fry them for a few minutes until they turn golden brown. 
To prepare the chermoula sauce, take a medium-size bowl and mix all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour into an airtight container and store in the fridge. 
Serve the sardines hot, with the sauce on the side for dipping. 
Level of difficulty: Medium-Difficult.
Time: 40 minutes.
Status: Pareve.
SALTED AND PICKLED SARDINES
Makes 10-12 servings.
15 sardine fillets
1 ½ cups kosher salt
5-6 thyme leaves
3 small cayenne peppers 
Olive oil (to cover sardines)
Pour the salt in a large bowl. Dip each sardine filet in the salt and cover well. Place the sardines on a tray. Add the remaining salt to an airtight glass container and then add one layer of sardines. Add the thyme leaves and whole or halved cayenne peppers. Add another layer of salted sardines, then more thyme and peppers. Continue adding layers until you’ve added all the fish. 
Pour olive oil over the fish so that the oil is at least 1 centimeter above the sardines. Add some more thyme and peppers, then close the container and store in a cool, shaded spot for 5-6 days. Serve with your favorite bread. 
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Pareve.
PICKLED LEMONS / LEMON TAPENADE
Makes one large jar.
1 kg. lemons
1½ cups salt
1 Tbsp. harissa or spicy paprika 
2 cups water
Cut the lemons into quarters or thin slices. Get rid of as many seeds as possible, then place lemons in a large bowl. 
In a separate bowl, mix the salt with the harissa. Add the water and mix again. Put some of the lemon pieces in the glass jar and add some of the harissa-salt mixture. Add more lemon pieces and harissa until you’ve added all of the lemons and harissa. If you want, you can add a few cayenne peppers and whole garlic cloves. Close the jar tightly and place in a cool, shaded place for 6-7 days. 
When the lemons are ready, you can transfer half of the mixture to a smaller container. The pickled lemons can also be used for cooking. Check that there are no seeds in the second half and then blend these lemons so it can be used as a tapenade. 
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 20 minutes + 7 weeks.
Status: Pareve.
CRISPY MASHED POTATOES
Makes 6-8 servings. 
6-8 potatoes
1 Tbsp. salt
¼-½ cup olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
½ Tbsp. sumac or 5 thyme leaves
Cook the potatoes in their skin in a pot of salted water for 40 minutes until they’ve softened. Drain them and mash potatoes. 
Line a tray with baking paper or use an oven-proof dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on the tray or dish and then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add sumac or thyme leaves. 
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200°C for 25-30 minutes until the mashed potatoes are crispy on top. Serve hot. 
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 75 minutes.
Status: Pareve.
Translated by Hannah Hochner. 

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SC

Co-Host for Coffee Mouth Scarecrow Show. Retired NAVY Chief/Flag Writer Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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