First of all, let me apologize for the long time since I posted, but I have a good excuse: I was busy!!
(Busy eating food, drinking wine, riding my bike around, cooking at Omnivore, and generally enjoying life!!)
So I hope you will forgive me, and I’m sure you will, when you hear about the surreal, unexpected, and excellent FRIDAY AFTERNOON FISH CLUB which I was privileged enough to have been invited to a few weeks ago-
It happened that (as usual, on Fridays) I was sitting at Gabe’s, surrounded by the incomparable companionship of about 50 sabras, geezers, hipsters, artists, drunks, arsim, and other upstanding members of society, all half-smashed on cheap arak and beer at 1pm in the afternoon- and one of these citizens happened to be Shlomi- the architect of the Friday Fish Club…
And the conversation went something like this:
Shlomi and Entourage: “Hey- you’re Gabe’s friend, right? The chef?? You like to eat fish??”
Rima “You’re kidding, right?! I LIVE to eat fish!!”
Shlomi and Crew: “Ok!! then come to xxxxxx car garage, at xxxx st, in Holon, next Friday!”
And so I went.
With a few pals, and Alon, who, like me, is not one to let a fish of any size, be the one that got away.
First of all- This place happened to be in an actual car-repair garage, in Holon. Which if you will excuse me for saying so, is not exactly the place I would expect to go to if I were looking for a great fish eating experience.
But never mind!!
As a matter of fact, some of the best food I have ever eaten, in places all over the world, has been found in unexpected places like these-
so take a word of advice, and never miss an opportunity to discover some hidden treasures in secret places…
You might discover something amazing, as I did that day, such as:
Home- made Bottarga, smoked baby sardines, fried tiny barbunia, cooked in an empty oil- drum, over a fire of wood scraps from the wood shop next door,
Oh , not to mention, a whole fresh salmon fillet with sage and almonds crust. (made by ME)
here’s how to do it:
(I like to make this with a whole salmon fillet, leave the skin on, but de-bone, spread the pesto on top, but also good on salmon steaks or other fish too)
take 1 bunch fresh sage (leaves only) put in food processor w/
juice from 1-2 big lemons
splash of rice vinegar
some hot green chiles, like jalapenos, to taste
coarse sea salt to taste
demerara- pale brown sugar crystals (“sugar in the raw”) (or light brown sugar-)about 4 big spoons
fresh garlic- about 4 cloves
handful of fresh parsley leaves, about 1/2 bunch, leaves only
splash olive oil, plus about 1/3 cup canola oil
Blend all to paste.
about 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
Pulse to blend nuts into the paste.
Adjust balance with sugar, salt, lemon juice.
Spread a thick layer of this mix on salmon steaks or fillets, roast in oven at hottest temp til golden on top.. a whole large side of salmon will take about 25 mins. Steaks or individual fillet pieces, about 7 mins.
Well, back to the Fish Club:
When we arrived, we saw the doors to the car-repair garage open, and a huge table set up inside- covered with paper, big bottles of cola, beer, and arak-
And about 15 tough-looking guys all sitting around both the table, and standing around outside, next to the oil- drum fish fryer and grill, shouting, drinking, playing music, cleaning and cooking fish, and in general, having a hella good time.
We of course jumped right in, and although my salmon was looked at suspiciously at first, as it was brought on a “fancy” Moroccan platter, and not an aluminum disposable baking tray, but as soon as they took a bite, it was deemed acceptable, and everyone dug in! In fact, they even asked me how to make it!
Arak was flowing like water! Fish bones were flying! handmade Bottarga, which costs about 100 dollars+ a pound in a shop, was being passed around like chips!!
(Bottarga is either made from tuna or grey mullet caviar, salted, pressed, and considered by connoisseurs of really good caviar products and fish, to be one of the world’s great delicacies. And I agree.
(Make some spaghetti- AL DENTE of course!! – add a load of fresh garlic, olive oil, cracked pepper, fresh chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon, and grate Bottarga over the top- and you will cry tears of joy!!!)
ok.. ok… this pic (which is not mine) has fresh oysters also, which is also excellent.. but not necessary…
Piles of delicate fried baby barbunia ( Mediterranean red mullet) were being dumped on the table!
My cute single girl friend was getting phone numbers right and left from the guys!
I had a whole bottarga in one hand, and a water glass full of arak in the other! Heaven!!
Well, listen. This sort of thing isn’t for everyone.
I mean, certain people I know, in fact one of them happens to be one of my best friends, and their first name begins with an O and their family name begins with an A,
might prefer to sit at Montefiore, sipping a martini and eating frozen shrimp for 200 shekels a dish, and you know what?? I myself don’t mind that myself once in a while
Well, I mean, I mind the frozen shrimp, but they make a pretty good martini over there.
But still!! He just doesn’t know what he’s missing by never setting his foot at a place like the Fish Club, or Gabe’s!!
And this was THE REAL THING!!!! “Without Salt” as they say around here! Hardcore!!
Shlomi and the boys were perfect hosts, and the fish was sublime.
I just wish I would have brought my salmon in an aluminum disposable tray. Next time.
So call me if you want a recommendation to get into this exclusive club!!!!
And bring arak. After all, I will definitely be there, and I don’t drink beer.
So be warned.
See you over there one of these Fridays soon. (it’s once every few weeks. Gabe’s otherwise!!)