I recently learned about the significance of eating fish on Shabbos. There are many explanations and insights, but one of my favorites goes as follows:
Shabbos is a Me’ein Olam Haba– a microcosm of the World to Come. Im Yirtzeh Hashem, when Moshiach comes, we will celebrate with a great feast. The main dish at this feast, will be a very special fish– the gigantic Levyasan, also known as the Leviathan, that Hashem has hidden since Creation, for the tzaddikim to enjoy at this banquet of Moshiach. Yet, tradition teaches us, that when Moshiach comes, we won’t eat physical food as we know it today. Rather, the Levyasan symbolizes the rich Torah secrets we’ll delight in, the delicacy of Torah that is hidden from us now, preserved until Olam Haba.
So whether your minhag (custom) is Gefilte fish with carrots, or spicy fish S’fardi-style, think about the significance of what you’re eating. You are getting a tiny taste reminiscent of our future, may we delight in the actual thing very soon!
Ingredients I used:
For the cakes:
~2 15-oz. cans of salmon, ~Breadcrumbs, ~Egg, ~Salt and freshly ground pepper, ~Parsley, ~Rosemary, fresh or dried (if using dried instead of fresh, use less, since dried is much more potent than fresh.)
For the sauce:
~Margarine, ~Flour, ~Lemon juice ~Garlic powder, ~Dill, ~Salt and pepper, freshly ground
You may want to don rubber gloves before beginning the following couple steps, since many people don’t appreciate the strong scent of the fish clinging to their hands.
1.) Begin by draining your salmon, reserving some of the liquid in a small bowl. Set aside. Transfer your fish to another bowl, and proceed to debone, and remove any skin. (Note: The bones are edible, and there are in fact health benefits to consuming them, but they are rather gritty, and occasionally a little sharp… so, not quite pleasant.)
2.) Add reserved fish juice, egg, and breadcrumbs to your fish, mixing well. You want the combination to reach a consistency so that you can form it into a soft mound, that should keep its shape. If it is too wet, shake in some more breadcrumbs. If too dry, add another egg (egg whites on their own do just as well). Toss in your aromatic herbs and spices. Add enough rosemary and parsley to taste.
3.) Spray a muffin tin, or small ramekins, with cooking spray, or coat with oil using a paper towel. Heap in your salmon mixture, patting into an appealing shape. I baked my cakes at 350 degrees, until they looked golden and dry, and yes, when a toothpick inserted came out clean. Be cautious not to overcook them though, so that they don’t become tough. Also, please bear in mind, they may cook even a little more, if you are putting them on the blech (hotplate) for Shabbos or Yuntif.
4.) While your delicacy cooks, you can begin the sauce. Melt the margarine in a small pot. When liquefied, sprinkle flour over it, whisking nonstop, so that it doesn’t ball up. The flour is just to thicken the sauce– you certainly want more margarine than you do flour. Add a generous dash or two (or three!) of lemon juice, sprinkle in a little bit of garlic powder, just to give a little nip, and add dill, salt, and pepper. Whisk well.
5.) Serve cakes warm, with a dollop of the sauce, and a garnishing sprig of fresh dill or parsley, if desired, to complete the sophisticated look.
Have a great Shabbos, and bon appetit!