Italian bread crumbs

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

by Heguiberto on January 17, 2013

This is another great recipe from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. It uses capers! Hurrah!!! How can you go wrong with capers? Salted or brined, these tiny flower buds are alright with me. Yotam writes that caper bushes grow wild around the city of Jerusalem. They’re hardy and you can even find them growing out of cracks in the Wailing Wall (Muro das Lamentações in Portuguese). Isn’t that cool? I’d love to see that someday.

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

The original dish also uses quite a bit of dill too, an herb I sometimes find a bit over powering. I think it has to do with the smell of the lagoons around my home town in Brazil. The grasses that grew around those lagoons exhaled a strange dill scent and I always associate these smells with stagnant water. Alas! I think that I must have been a dog or a wolf in a past life. My sense of smell is powerful; which is good sometimes but as in this case, not too great at others. Anyway this dish is all about beautiful colors, flavors and, yes, aromas!

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

2lbs white boneless fish (I used wild pacific cod fillets)
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup panko break crumbs
1 large free range egg, beaten
5 tbsp capers in brine, rinsed and chopped
3 whole scallions, chopped fine
½ bunch fresh dill, chopped fine
Juice one large lemon
1½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for frying

Cut the fillets into 3 inch pieces, place fish in the food processor and whiz for half a minute. Using a spatula push the fish down. Whiz it again for another half minute.

Transfer to a bowl, add lemon juice and beaten egg. In a separate bowl mix Italian bread crumbs, panko, turmeric, cumin, pepper, chopped capers, scallions, dill and salt together. Incorporate bread crumb mix into to fish using a spatula. Do not over mix.

Wet your hands with a bit of canola oil. Shape fish mixture into patties. Place patties on a wax paper lined tray. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add some canola oil to a non-stick skillet on medium. Fry patties for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve hot with a side of eggplant baba ghanoush.

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These are not fish fingers or mozzarella sticks but the idea is similar. Instead of frying, I baked my zucchini fingers, for my own health 😉 This is a really fun and tasty way to use up all that summer squash that seems to grow like weeds in your garden. Next year, maybe only a few squash plants rather than the six we grew this summer. I never thought it could happen, but I’ve actually gotten zucchini-fatigue.

oven roasted zucchini fingers

oven roasted zucchini fingers

I served these lovely treats with a tomato dipping sauce (don’t get me started on the overabundance of tomatoes from our garden plot—clearly nine plants is a bit much for two people) using the same recipe for pizza sauce found here.

oven roasted zucchini fingers

3 zucchinis cut into finger sized segments
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
Crushed red pepper
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp water
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic minced
3 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Pre heat over to 375F.

Place egg, egg white and water in a bowl, add a sprinkle of salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs, black pepper, garlic, parsley, and parmesan cheese.

Dip zucchini fingers in egg wash then roll them over bread crumb mix. Return to egg wash and roll them in breadcrumbs a second time. Repeat for remaining zucchini fingers. Lay them on a cookie tray ½ inch apart. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and serve with a spicy tomato dipping sauce (recipe follows).

spicy tomato dipping sauce

28oz can unseasoned peeled tomatoes, chopped with juices
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp tomato paste
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp black pepper
crushed red pepper to taste
1 dry chile de arbol
¼ tsp sugar
½ tsp red wine vinegar

Simmer all ingredients but vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 35 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Add reserved olive oil and vinegar, stir and set aside.

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