Medjool dates stuffed with locus and almonds for Rosh Hashanah
Airy fish patties that use ground almonds to create a crisp and unusual texture.
Airy fish patties that use ground almonds to create a crisp and unusual texture. The dates that envelop them add sweetness and a more delicate texture, while the tart sauce made from herbs blends the flavors in the oven. Serves five or six.
For the stuffed dates:
20-24 juicy medjool dates from the early harvest
1 kg. filet of fresh locus (grouper) or other light-colored saltwater fish, boned and skinned
1 cup (120 gm.) blanched almonds, ground
2 medium-sized eggs
2-3 garlic cloves
6-8 sprigs of coriander
2-3 sprigs of thyme
juice 1/2 lemon
ground black pepper
olive oil for frying
For the sauce:
1 bunch parsley stalks
1 bunch coriander stalks
1 bunch rocket leaves
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup (120 gm.) pine nuts
juice 1 lemon
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
ground black pepper
The stuffed dates: Cut the locus into coarse cubes and place in the bowl of a food processor with a stainless steel blade. Chop the fish in pulses only until it crumbles somewhat (do not turn it into a paste!) and becomes easy to work with.
Transfer the fish to a bowl and add the ground almonds and eggs. Chop the garlic finely together with the coriander and thyme and add to the bowl with the lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. Knead the mixture for a few minutes with your hands, until you get a flexible patty mixture. If necessary, add some more ground almonds. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Make a slit in each date and remove the pits. Take a handful of the stuffing and press into the date gently, so that the date opens up and surrounds one side of the patty. Repeat with the entire mixture and all the dates and place on a surface with the fish mixture facing up.
Heat the olive oil (about 1/2 centimeter deep) in a wide skillet over a medium flame. Fry the patties on the date side for about two minutes, until they brown a little and acquire a crisp crust, while the center remains soft and juicy. Turn over the patties with the date side facing up, fry for another minute and transfer to an oven-proof, heat-resistant baking dish, placing the patties close together.
The sauce: Place all the sauce ingredients, except for the oil, salt and pepper, into the bowl of the food processor and chop the herbs finely. Continue to process and slowly drip in the oil through the opening in the cover until you get a smooth and somewhat thick sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
To assemble the dish: Heat the oven to a medium-low heat (160 degrees Celsius), pour the sauce over the patties and transfer to the oven for heating about 15 minutes before serving. The patties can be prepared ahead of time, but it’s important to prepare the sauce right before heating to prevent it turning black and losing its flavor. Serve in individual plates with a generous tablespoon of sauce and a slice of challah.