The family and the fish
Name: Tomer Botner, Noam Blumenthal and Lev Botner
Where you from: Noam and Tomer are from Tel-Aviv, Lev was born in Barcelona.
Profession: Industrial designer/knifemaker, Fashion designer, professional baby.
HERBERT SAMUEL’S TOMATO SALAD
Adapted from Chef Jonathan Roshfeld
6 medium tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 pint mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
2 mini tiger heritage tomatoes, halved
6 radishes, thinly sliced
½ chili pepper, thinly sliced or to taste
½ red onion, thinly sliced
3 egg yolks, cooked and crushed
4 ounces feta or goat cheese (preferably Turkish Tulum cheese
Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
Sea salt to taste
1. Place the quartered tomatoes over the gas burner or the grill to slightly char the outside or place in the over to grill under high heat. After charred and cooled, cut them into pie-shaped pieces.
2. Put these with the remaining cut tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the olives, radishes, chili pepper, red onion the egg yolks, and the goat cheese.
3. Drizzle the lemon juice over all ingredients and then sprinkle with the olive oil. Add salt to taste and gently toss. Serve on individual plates for a refreshing and delicious first course.
Yield: 4-6 servings
The Salad is not a part of our families heritage but rather my own personal one, Herbert Samuel was the first “serious” restaurant I worked at and it had been the base for my gastronomical life and also my professional life to some degree since so many talented cooks and restauranteurs have come out of there, people I started out working with, and we still foster a unique bond after all these years. The personal and business connections made there follow me to this day.
FISH RECIPE, as written by our friend Hidai Afaim.
Generally there are 3 basic principles to cooking a fish in a shell:
1. you need to have a fatty/oily material like nuts, olive oil or butter that will burn and harden the crust.
2. you need to have liquids to ooze down into the fish and carry the flavours.
3. the fish need to be completely covered so it doesn’t dry.
Once you take care of these principles you can make up anything you like.
For 2-4 portions
4 slices of yesterdays bread
a little olive oil
1 bundle of parsley
1 bundle of rashad or arugula leaves
6 stems of thyme
Just the leave out of around 15 stems of mint
2 heads of green onions including the leaves.
3-4 garlic cloves
50 gr of peeled pumpkin seeds
50 gr of peeled walnuts
50 gr of pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
atlantic sea salt
ground black pepper
2 500 gr fish
Drizzle some olive oil on the bread and put in a pre heated oven at 220 degrees for about 10 minutes until you get a crispy brown toast.
In the meantime, roughly chop the bundles of parsley and Rashad or Arugula and transfer into the food processor.
add the thyme, mind leaves, green onion and peeled garlic and chop for about a minute. Add the nuts, walnuts and pine nuts and turn on again to get a course mixture. Add the lemon juice and olive oil. season with salt and pepper and continue to work the blend. Now add the toast and mix in short bursts until the bread crumbles and the juices soak into it.
Line a large clay pan, big enough to hold in the fish, with baking paper and spread 1 spoonful of the mixture on the bottom of it.
Wash and clean the fish well, rub salt and pepper inside and out and rub the fish with olive oil. Put the fish in the pan (you can also use a ton if you have one) and tighter the mixture over them in a tight consistent layer. Bake at 230 degrees for 25 minutes or until the shell becomes hard and bronzed. You don’t need to worry about over baking since the shell keeps the flesh of the fish moist and juicy.
Serve straight out of the pan, best eaten with your fingers and a slice of lemon.
1: What do you think sets Isreali food apart from other types of cuisine? I think Israeli cuisine is a stolen cuisine because of the makeup of the society there, it has many variations and it ranges and flavours from Western Europe to the whole of the Arab world (and of course the middle east) and from North Africa until Russia. But I also think it’s a very difficult question to answer, Israel is a very young country and we still haven’t figured it all out.
2: What is your family approach to cooking? do you do it together usually or does one of you cook more often? In our small family level it’s usually one of us who cooks for ourselves but when we have people over we do it together. On the larger family level usually everyone brings something to the dinner table but we make sure it all fits together before hand.
3: During the year and all the celebrations, what are your favorite meals and why? I like the passover dinner. It’s the same food every year but it’s traditional and most importantly, people get really good at it after making it for 30-40 years. Here also, everyone does his specialty things. In my family (Tomer) we are a blend of East (Poland mostly) and West (Egypt) and so you can eat Mazza balls and Gefilte fish next to spicy fish and roast Lamb at the same dinner table.
4: As you make knives for Chefs and people who love to cook, do you have any insider tips on how to choose a good knife? Well, I think it’s like most things, buy from a good maker with good reputation, Invest in 1 good chef’s knife and 1 good paring knife (I always recommend having a really good bread knife too). Generally your knife needs to fit you as cook and as a person, for instance, If you cook often and have the personality to care for your tools you should get a carbon steel knife or if you cook only western food there is no real reason to have a Japanese style knife, It would only make you work more, it really depends on you.