Favored by Egyptian Jews as a prelude to Sabbath and holiday meals, this easy-to-prepare, well-seasoned alternative to gefilte fish requires no poaching in fish stock and can be made with any white-fleshed fish. The pungent cumin that flavors bellahat tastes like today, but it is an ancient spice, sold by the Hebrews during biblical times in herb markets, and used in their soups, stews, and breads.
Simple tomato sauce, galvanized by extra-virgin olive oil and lemon, cloaks the fish balls in this version from Corinne Rossabi, an excellent home cook raised in Egypt. When summer collides headlong with fall, I prepare a tomato and pepper sauce variation from the explosion of red, orange, and yellow at my local greenmarket.
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.