A Month of Solemn Observations, Followed by Food, Festivities
Oh my, it is April already, which means that Ramadan starts soon, and that Easter and Passover are on the way.
Ramadan begins Friday, April 1 and is marked by those who observe it with a month of prayer, introspection, and fasting from food and drink, from dawn to sunset. It ends Sunday, May 1 with a three-day celebration Eid al-Fitr, a festival known for an abundance of foods both sweet and savory including milk-soaked vermicelli with dates, ma’amoul date-filled cookies, kebabs, lentil soups, and so much more.
As for Easter and Passover, because the two holidays have different calendars, rarely do Easter weekend and Passover coincide.
As with many Jewish holidays, Passover with its wonderful dinner, or seder, might include brisket or turkey, sweet potatoes, matzoh topped with horseradish, and macaroons for dessert. This year the seder begins Friday, April 15 at sundown.
Easter weekend includes Good Friday on April 15 and runs through Easter Monday, April 18. Easter Sunday, April 17, might include a meal with turkey or ham, rolls and butter, fresh peas, rich scalloped potatoes and, if you are lucky, a ricotta cake and fresh berries.
My daughter has Good Friday and Easter Monday off. She will take the red-eye from California, arriving very early Friday. One of the dishes we likely will make is this one. Whether you observe any of these holidays or however you do, it’s a dish you might enjoy as well.
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at email@example.com.
Sear-Roasted Halibut with Tomato and Capers
Adapted from Fine Cooking, volume 93, June-July, 2008
Yield: serves 4
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
1 ½ tablespoons fresh oregano (if dried, use only a teaspoon)
1 ½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds thick, skinless halibut fillet (or mild white fish, like cod)
cut into 4 even pieces
½ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used canola because I was
out of EVOO)
2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Position rack in center of oven and heat oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes, capers, oregano, vinegar, ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoons pepper.
In a plate, place flour and the rest of salt and pepper. Dredge fish in flour and shake excess flour. Heat oil in a 12-inch (preferably non-stick) ovenproof skillet over medium high-heat until shimmering hot. Add fish, evenly spaced, and cook without touching until it browns and releases easily from the pan (check by gently lifting one of the corners), about 3 minutes. Flip fish, sprinkle garlic around it, and cook until garlic just starts to brown on some edges, about 30 seconds. Pour the tomato mixture around the fish and transfer skillet to the oven. Roast until the fish is just firm to the touch and opaque when you pry open a thicker piece with a paring knife, 3 to 6 minutes.
Let fish rest for a couple of minutes and then serve with the tomato mixture spooned over it.