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5 Fantastic Fish Recipes for Shavuot

May 18, 2017 | by Elizabeth Kurtz

So there’s plenty of room for cheesecake.

Let’s think beyond Teriyaki Salmon! For Shavuot we need make-ahead friendly, crowd pleasing fish entrees that are still light enough to save room for lots of cheesecake. These fish varieties are tasty, easy and definitely more unique than the same old salmon everyone serves. Remember, always buy very fresh fish and keep it cold. I put a bag of ice in a zip-top bag on top of the fish in the refrigerator. Make sure there is no liquid surrounding the flesh of the fish when you buy it. Fish should smell neutral; fish that smells fishy will taste fishy.

These fish dishes can be rewarmed and served (store in the refrigerator) but fish is best made close to the time of serving. Try these 5 fantastic fish recipes and Chag Sameach!

Thyme Spiced Sole with Shiitake Mushrooms, Garlic, and Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 6

Great with sole, flounder, red snapper, or tilapia

  • ½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or shoyu
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, and 2 bunches on the vine
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 (5 ounce) pieces flounder, sole, red snapper, or tilapia
  • Fresh basil for garnish or more fresh thyme, optional

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium bowl, toss mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of oil and soy sauce. Place mushrooms and sauce in a 9 x 13 oven-safe baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, add tomatoes, sliced garlic, whole garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. Toss so that all is incorporated. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, add fish and gently stir vegetables and liquid to cover fish. Bake uncovered until fish is cooked through, 10 – 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving.

Creamy Mustard Baked Red Snapper

Serves 4, can be doubled

Make this with red snapper, flounder, sole or tilapia.

  • 4 (8 ounce) fish fillets, red snapper, flounder, sole, or tilapia
  • 8 ounces crème fraiche, available in national markets (see recipe below) or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 425.

Place the fish fillets in an ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Combine the crème fraiche, two mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Sprinkle with the paprika. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until it is barely done. Do not overcook the fish and it should be flakey at the ends when it is cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature with the pan sauce spooned on top.

Crème fraîche

  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk or 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

In a jar with a lid, place whipping cream and buttermilk (or sour cream); cover securely and shake 15 seconds. Set aside at room temperature for 24 hours or until very thick. Stir once or twice during that time. NOTE: Cream will thicken faster if the room is warm.

Stir thickened crème fraiche well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Oven Baked Salmon with Green Goddess Dipping Sauce

  • 1 to 3 pounds skin-on salmon fillets (8 ounces per person)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 425°F: Place a rack in the middle of oven. Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with foil.

Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Drizzle some oil over the top of each salmon – just enough to coat the salmon – and rub it over the salmon with your fingers. Sprinkle the salmon generously with salt and pepper.

Place the salmon in the roasting pan, skin-side down.

Roast for 4 to 6 minutes per half-inch thickness of salmon: Roasting time depends on the thickness of your salmon, as determined by the thickest part of the salmon fillet. For every half-inch of salmon, roast 4 to 6 minutes – 4 minutes will give you salmon that is still a touch rare, 6 – 8 minutes will thoroughly cook it.

Salmon is done when easily flaked.

Serve immediately with sauce or keep refrigerated for about 5 days, and can be gently reheated in the microwave or used cold.

Green Goddess Dipping Sauce

Makes 2 cups

  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
  • 1 cup chopped basil leaves (18 to 20 leaves)
  • ½ cup Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (if using Worcestershire sauce, use 1 teaspoon salt)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream or Tofutti sour cream
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into sticks

For the dressing, place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste or Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. Serve as a sauce for poached or cooked fish or as a dip. Best made a day or two ahead of time. Store in refrigerator.

Salmon with Pistachio Pesto

Serves 4, can be doubled

Salmon can also be broiled, roasted, grilled or poached in this recipe.

  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 5 – 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ –1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 4 (7 ounce) pieces salmon fillet

In a food processor, pulse the parsley, cheese, pistachios, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the machine running, stream in the olive oil and process until a finely ground pesto forms.

Season the fish with a little salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter/oil until hot. Add the fish and cook until browned on both sides and almost opaque but still a bit pink at the center, about 6 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Serve salmon with pesto.

Tuna and Fruit Ceviche

Serves 4 – 6

This is a fantastic appetizer all year round, stunning in presentation and very fresh tasting. Serve it alone or with chilled tomato or gazpacho soup.


  • ⅔ cup finely diced watermelon
  • ⅔ cup finely diced pear or apple
  • ⅔ cup finely diced cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • ¼ lb. sushi grade tuna or salmon (or imitation crab), diced into small pieces
  • Edible flowers, optional


  • 1 lemon, juiced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Spicy mayo to garnish, optional

In a medium sized bowl, gently toss the ceviche ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over ceviche and toss gently.

Serve ceviche with dressing in small dishes. If desired top with a drizzle of spicy mayo and an edible flower.

Serve in decorative small dishes or atop a gazpacho or chilled soup.

Click here for more delicious Shavuot recipes.

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