Yesterday, following a wine tasting, I made my way to lunch at one of my favorite hangouts in Ramat HaChayal (a suburb of Tel Aviv). Not to give it all away before my review appears in HaAretz but just to share some of my enthusiasm:
The first dish from which I sampled was of fish 'n chips. Fried fish and chips have both been popular fare for many centuries, but the combination of the two traces its history to the mid-19th century in southwest England when it became popular among the locals along the coast because of the cheap fish used. The dish I received was given a uniquely American touch by being made not with the cod or haddock favored by the English but with catfish (sfanmoon in Hebrew).
Catfish, it should be understood was for many years scorned by the vast majority of Americans, many thinking that it was fit only for the poorest people living in the southern states. About a decade ago, however, several of the most upswing chefs in New York and San Francisco realized that when prepared properly catfish was a true delicacy and there is no fish more "in" in the USA today. The portion I received, of the fillets of a whole catfish, had been coated in seasoned breadcrumbs and, in accordance with tradition deep-fried had been done perfectly, the coating crisp and the white fleshed fish just soft enough and packed with flavor. No less important, the fish came in a generous portion and sat atop perfect chips, the flavor of both highlighted by the accompanying sauce, a simple but well prepared blend of ketchup, mayonnaise and Tabasco sauce. Also accompanying the dish was a fresh home-baked bread, that quite good and going nicely with the well-made chimichurri sauce that was offered.
What can I say other than I enjoy fish 'n chips.