Sunday, November 23, 2008
Tilapia... It Brings Back Memories
Last night I cooked tilapia for dinner. It has become a favorite fish to cook at home. I found two recipes that I particularly like: one is pan-fried with panko bread crumbs and parmesan. The other is braised with onion, garlic, capers, tomatoes and white wine. Every time I have tilapia I think of the time I had it in Israel. There, they call it St. Peter's Fish. They catch it from the Sea of Galilee. There, the Sea of Galilee is called Lake Kinneret, or Lake Tiberias.
In 1993 I went on a trip to Israel. I was stunned by the beauty of the place. We traveled from the northernmost point near Lebanon to the southernmost point at Eilat, on the Red Sea (where we experienced an earthquake, by the way). There is an amazing variety of landscapes in such a small country, from rugged, barren rock and desert to green and lush gardens and fields. The Galilee is a green, lush area, where the city of Tiberias is located. Tiberias is located on the shore of the Sea of Galiliee, and you can see the Golan Heights in the distance.
We took a boat ride across Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galiliee). The boat took us to the city of Tiberias, which is beautiful. One night while we were staying in Tiberias, our guide took us out into the countryside for dinner on the shores of the lake. It was a magical night. We drove for miles and miles in the dark. Finally, we came to a small clearing lit with torches and furnished with several tents. They were cooking St. Peter's fish on outdoor fires. We sat at long tables under the stars. The waiters brought us each a whole fish on a platter, then proceeded to filet it for each of us, individually. It was delicious. And the setting was perfect. When I think back on it, it almost seems like a dream.
So, that's what I think of when I have tilapia.