The first rainfall hit Tel Aviv yesterday in the early morning hours. It was like the clouds were bursting to help this desert landscape quench its thirst and make the soil supple again. And when the skies do open up it is with a sincere sense of urgency and force. But summer in this city bakes the streets so hard that the first few weeks of fall rain cannot even begin to penetrate the earth’s surface. This is both a great gift and a huuuge reminder that early morning beach swims are coming to a close. But I am not sad about this change in seasons, I am welcoming it with open arms. Yesterday we welcomed the rain with a nice long walk in the cooler, cleaner midday air that followed. Because of course in this environment you are blessed with blue skies almost immediately following a storm.
We walked all the way to a sweet fish store in Jaffa. The guys there walked me through all little fishes that had arrived that day; big beautiful bass, tilapia, sea bream, and shrimp. All of these had been brought from the seas of Cyprus and my choice of sea bream was mostly a fiscal one.
On the walk home we encountered more fall skies full of voluminous clouds and those ‘lionkingesque’ rays of sunshine bursting from behind; casting a sensational golden light on the Mediterranean. We are so lucky to have a walk like that outside our front door. It makes a midday stroll into a moment of vacation time. An errand can become a reason to stop by the beach to dip your toes. I was energized and excited to get home and make one of those life affirming meals. Full of bright healthful notes and flavors.
I chopped up every herb I had in the house and added some olives, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper and glugged a bunch of olive oil into the boil for added sauciness. This was a winning move. Keeping it simple and respectful I made rice, blanched some broccoli and ba-da-bing ba-da-boom dinner was served.
Fish With Herbs & Olive Sauce
2 fillet of a white fish of your choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
small handfuls of mint, parsley, coriander, chives, basil whatever is on hand. FINELY CHOPPED
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
a dozen or so olives of your choice, pitted and chopped
1 lemon zested, juiced
big pinches salt and pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon butter
Place your fish skin side down on paper towels to dry them thoroughly.
Combine the olive oil, herbs, garlic, olives, zest, juice, in small bowl and let it sit.
Heat a medium saute pan. Add your cooking oil of choice. Salt and pepper the fish and when the pan is nice and hot add your fish fillet SKIN side DOWN. Do NOT touch them at this point, don’t try to move them or scoot them or you will risk ripping the skin. You want the skin to get good and crispy and the best way to achieve this is to not bother those fish.
After 3 or 4 minutes slide your spatula carefully underneath and flip the fish. Finish cooking another 2 minutes, remove them from the pan to a plate.
Add butter to the pan and when the bubbles subside add the contents of your herb bowl, turn the heat down and scrape up all the bits that were left at the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking for another minute or two and you are done. Coat your fish in the sauce and eat up kids!