Sunday night we fired out the grill for the first time this year. We decided to grill some fish based on a recipe in Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook: grilled fish skewers with hawayej and parsley. Except we skipped the skewers and oops I didn’t have any fresh parsley on Sunday. I also made a spinach salad from the same cookbook, but let’s start with the fish.
The recipe calls for white fish. We ended up with a couple of haddock fillets. We left the skin on. I made the hawayej spice mix, which they describe as “a high-potency Yemeni spice mix used to flavor hearty soups and stews.” It has a lot of my favorite spices and just reading the ingredients made my mouth water. I put 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, and 4 whole cloves into my spice grinder (which is actually a coffee grinder dedicated to spices). I ground them up and then added 1/2 tsp ground cardamom and 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric and gave it another whir.
Then I put 2 large cloves of crushed garlice, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tsp salt into a gallon-sized freezer bag. I then added the hawayej mix and the fish fillets. I gently massaged the fish and distributed all the yumminess around before placing it in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours.
When it came out ready for grilling, it looked like this.
I made the salad in steps throughout the afternoon. First I marinated thinly sliced red onion and pitted Medjool dates in 1 tbs white wine vinegar for twenty minutes.
After twenty minutes I discarded the extra vinegar (it wasn’t much). Later I chopped up almonds and shredded some pita to toast in some olive oil and 2 tsp sumac, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and some salt.
When the pita was getting toasted and crispy, I removed the pan from the heat and waited until the fish was almost done grilling before assembling the salad.
To assemble, I tossed 5oz of baby spinach leaves in a large bowl with the pita and almonds, then added the dates and onions. I drizzled the salad with olive oil, 2 tbs fresh lemon juice and some more salt. I also tasted it and couldn’t wait to eat the whole thing!
The fish didn’t take long to grill.
And Manny watched from the sunroom.
The fish came out amazingly tender, just flaking off the skin.
I put it on our plates with salad.
The mister selected his beer for the evening, and went with the beer that helps our Chesapeake Bay.
So now it seemed we had a fish theme going. We looked for something on television, and A River Runs Through It was just starting. Somehow neither of us has ever seen it from beginning to end, and guess what? FISH. Fly-fishing…what an interesting sub-culture. We stuck with our impromptu fish theme and watched the movie.