The (Very) Good Life, Part 2
One fish, dozens of flavors and a fabulous companionship – the second part of our recommendations and options to ease life's hectic pace. Fear not - we also have some summer recipes
The scents land deep inside the nose, indicative of what is about to happen in a few hours. Meantime, the fish stands in the Farmers Market in Tel Aviv's port invite us to come closer. Erez Cohen checks, feels picks up and down and insists on receiving the best culinary goods. The result? A Mullet fish that is about to become the star of a summer dinner in my home kitchen.
I first met Cohen when he photographed Pazit Fuchs and me, as she was holding me above water and allows me to advance to a relaxing meditative state. After the photo shoot, as we started talking, I learned that Cohen is in fact a chef; returning from New York after 22 years. In the city, he opened Cafes, a catering company and spiced things up with a cooking company that specializes in dinner parties in private homes.
The last project he launched prior to his return to Israel is Pita Joe, a restaurant specializes in Israeli food; based on organic attitude. So, Cohen opened a special Pita bread factory and served Union Sq, and West Village locals organic Falafel and Humus. But then something stirred up from within. The city suddenly seemed boring and creativity vanished. Six months ago he told his business partners they should find someone else and returned back home. “Maybe I can contribute something here”, he said. My taste buds tend to agree.
Together, we made a wonderful meal, suited to the summer heat. As I've mentioned here in the past, I try to take every opportunity to meet new people from fascinating realms. For me, it's the ultimate way to constantly upgrade day-to-day lives. The courses we made for seven people proved once again that this attitude always pays off. We were joined by friends, among them DJ Simon; whom I met the night before, while he was playing at Shesek bar. We invited him to set up his gear and sure enough – a private party happened spontaneously in my living room.
Erez recommends: Cut and prepare all the products before you start
½ kg Cherry tomato mix
1 bundle of basil
150 g Sainte Maure cheese
150 g Muzzarella – cut in cubes
1 spoon Truffles oil
1 spoon olive oil
Coarse salt (season to taste)
Slice the tomatoes and put in the bowl. Chop the basil and add to the bowl. Add the truffle and olive oil (you can put or less – season to taste). Sprinkle salt. Scatter the mozzarella. Good to go!
Arab lettuce salad with beet, Parmigiano and balsamic vinaigrette
1 Arab lettuce (or a 1 box of lettuce, already cut)
¼ red onion, sliced to thin slices
100 g Parmigiano
Ingredients for Vinaigrette
½ teaspoon Dijon
1 teaspoon honey
¼ glass balsamic vinegar
½ glass olive oil
Salt and pepper
Slice the beet to thin slices and put in a casserole, bring to a boil – so the beet will soften, but not too much. Filter the water with a colander and put in a separate bowl (you can prepare the beet a day earlier). Cut the lettuce and place in the same bowl.
In a small bowl, mix Balsamic, honey, Dijon, salt and pepper. Add the oil slowly and mix till the gravy thickens (you don't have to use the entire amount of oil – taste and than decide). After you taste and balance flavors, it's definitely ready.
1 Mullet fish – ask for fillet sliced to 3-4 slices. You can also slice at home
1 package of cherry tomato, sliced in halves
1 teaspoon of thyme
2-3 teaspoons of mirin
2 garlic cloves
sliced chilly pepper (season season to taste)
½ teaspoon curry
½ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
Start a medium heat and add shallots to a frying pan. When the onions begin to brown, add the garlic and chilly. Add thyme, mirin and tomatos. Toss for a few minutes, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes while adding salt, pepper and cumin (season to taste).
When the tomatoes are soften and start to reduce, you can add the mullet (it is possible to add salt and pepper to the fish). Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes.
1 glass of black lentils
1 bundle coriander
While the frying pan is cooking, boil black lentils. When the water boil for the first time, transfer the lentil to cold water and place back in the pot for a second boil. It is possible to add smoked paprika, a dash of cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until lentils soften- but not too much.
Transfer the mullet from the pan to plates and scatter some sauce from the pan. Slice coriander and scatter over the sauce. Place 3-4 spoons of black lentils next to the fish.
Want to contact Erez Cohen? Write to him