Salmon Fillet with Israeli Dill Sauce

As part of a new irregularly scheduled series, I am going to share with you, Dear Reader, my recent vacation in Israel.  This series will be half sightseeing, half family reunion, all recipe-sharing, and none in any particular order.

To celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary, theHubby and I decided to visit a country we never visited before.  Which is most of the entire world.

We selected Israel because our older son is living in Israel, currently serving in the IDF (Israeli army). 

Our son the soldier.

His commander graciously allowed him to join us for a good hunk of the tour we toured with.  More about him and the tour in future posts.

Israel citizens are very welcoming, and our relatives in Petah Tikva (a city just outside Tel Aviv) are no exception.  As soon as they heard we were visiting, a bunch of them dropped whatever plans they might have had in order to host a dinner in our honor.

And what a lovely dinner it was!   Nine of us around the table, with food enough for double that. If  Benny (my MIL's cousin) and Chanita were trying to impress us, they definitely succeeded!  Plates upon plates of veggies, chicken and fish.  Everything made from scratch, including the pickles (by Benny).  And, of course, after dinner there were plates upon plates of desserts.

But what really impressed me was the sauce on the chilled salmon appetizer.  Very creamy and smooth, with a pronounced flavor of dill.  I couldn't tell what was in this unusual sauce, so I asked Chanita to let me in on her secret so that I could share it with everyone.

Turned out that the main ingredient was homemade mayo!  I never had mayonnaise from scratch before and was really knocked out by the flavor.   They say that mayo-making is difficult, but when I got home I decided to try my hand at proving "them" wrong. 

So of course for my first attempt I proved "them" right.  I got impatient and poured in the oil way too fast.  The result separated into a curdled disaster.   According to everyone in the world who prepares it correctly, the oil must be poured in slowly, practically drop by drop, in order to form that emulsion we lovingly call mayo.  

But the second time was the charm.   It took me almost 10 minutes (and most of my patience) to carefully drizzle the oil in, and lemme tell you ... the result was totally worth it!  Even though my finished product was not as thick as store-bought, the taste was far superior.   Supposedly you can speed up the pour a bit after about half the oil is added, but I didn't want to take any chances.

Although the sauce must be served chilled (don't even think about heating it, unless you like dilled omelet), the fish itself can be served hot or cold.   My favorite way is either, depending upon the inverse of the weather (hot weather equals cold fish and vice versa).

My only caveat to you, Dear Reader, is that the recipe first calls for raw eggs, then doesn't cook them.   If you have a compromised system or no patience, replace the first 5 or 6 ingredients with two cups of store bought mayo.  It will taste very good, but you will be missing out on something awesome.

Salmon Fillet with Israeli Dill Sauce
Adapted from Chanita's recipe
Yield: about 2 cups sauce (enough for 8 servings plus leftovers)

2 fresh eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
3 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl.  lemon juice
2 Tbl. granulated sugar
2 Tbl. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
8 cooked salmon fillet portions, hot or chilled

Crack the eggs into a food processor.  Cover and hit the on switch (high speed if you have that option).  While the machine is running, add in the oil in a very thin stream, more like a slow drip.  Expect to spend as much as 10 minutes adding the oil.  Then stop the processing to make sure that you actually made mayo.

Yup ... it's mayo.

Start up the processor again and add the remaining ingredients.

Scrape down the sides, if necessary.  Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for several hours.

Plate salmon fillets.  Spoon sauce over fish and serve. Refrigerate leftover sauce, covered, up to 5 days.


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