Saturday 25 December 2010

A very Polish Xmas and "Ryba po grecku"

So, as you might know already, in Poland, Christmas Eve is the big deal, when you are supposed to have 12-13 dishes (for the apostles), all consisting of fish and vegetables. You are, in theory at least, fasting

"Ryba po grecku" is always my favourite dish out of the lot. It's literally translated as "Greek-style fish", although this doesn't actually make any sense, because it has nothing to do with Greek food, and everything to do with a Polish Christmas. I think there's always been a tradition of naming food in this non-sensical way in Poland.  There's "Jewish-style herrings", "Outlaw-style herrings" (why outlaws would have their own specific herring style god only knows), "Gypsy-style herrings" to name but a well as "Ukranian borsht" and "Italian salad", which, confusingly, is known as "Russian salad" everywhere else in the world

"Ryba po grecku" recipe 

White fish, filleted
Carrots, grated
Celeriac, grated
Parsnips, grated
Onion, finely chopped
Tomato puree
Lemon juice
Mustard (sarepska or dijon)
Salt and pepper
Little bit of flour

Sorry I can't give you the quantities, but they always vary slightly, and you need to use you sense of taste and instincts with this dish. The important thing is that you make enough sauce to cover the fish. It's not a problem if you have loads of sauce, that's kind of what you want. Start of by frying the vegetables for about half an hour, covered, on a small heat. Meanwhile, cut the fish into smaller parts, cover in flour, and fry until it is browned. Then, you need to add flavour to the sauce until you are happy with it. So add the puree, some mustard, a bit of lemon juice, paprika, sugar and salt and pepper, and keep tasting until you are satisfied. We used both black and white peppers... Finally, transfer the fish to a serving dish and cover in the sauce. It's served cold, so allow it to cool and stick in the fridge until serving time. I think that it would make a great starter. Merry Xmas!

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