Israeli food is a wonderful fusion of cuisines from all around the world. Moroccan Jews are one of Israel’s largest immigrant ethnic groups, and their cuisine has had a huge impact on local flavors and palates. Many Israelis, even those not of North African origin, serve Moroccan fish at the beginning of festive Friday evening meals, before delving into a larger feast of chicken and meat, served alongside up to dozens (!) of spreads, dips and salads. This dish is even more delicious the next day, when the flavors and spiciness have mingled, sopped up with rich, doughy Challah bread.
750 g. boneless fish fillet (sea bass, halibut)
Fish stock (approx. 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green (or yellow or orange) pepper, thinly sliced
1 hot green pepper, sliced
6 cloves garlic, smashed with a flat knife and peeled
3 tbsp. sweet paprika in oil
1 tbsp. spicy paprika
¼ cup olive oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (keep the stems)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a heavy pan over medium-high heat, add pepper slices to dry pan (no oil), and cook, stirring every few minutes until charred and softened. Add the smashed garlic cloves to pepper mixture and cook for an additional minute.
In a bowl, mix the paprikas and olive oil into a paste with a spoon. Add to the pot with the garlic and peppers and mix well, continuously scraping the residue from the pan. Fry for a few minutes until paprika is fragrant, then add fish stock, along with the spicy peppers. Cook another 3-5 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cilantro (stems, leaves, and all) over the surface of the sauce.
Gently place the fish over the sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Photo credit: Breaking Matzo