The smell of this dish brings me straight back to my childhood. At first sniff, I recall fun summers in the small neighborhood of Malcha, in the city of Jerusalem. I remember my mom and her sisters making a feast of fried fish and 'chips'.
This tomato sauce was always there. With the 'black' bread to soak up all the flavors, my favorite part was eating the crispy fish skin. Dredged in flour and fried, the white flesh of the fish was always tasty and sweet.
For the sauce:
- Vegetable Oil for the pan
- Onion - 1 Cup
- Garlic - 1 Tablespoon, minced
- Tomato Paste - 1 Can
- Crushed Tomato - 2 Large Cans (not #10 large, just large)
In your pan, start by heating oil and sauteing the onion (don't be cheap on the oil...this is a rustic sauce!). Once off to a good start and almost cooked through, add the garlic. At this point, pay special attention to the garlic. At first sign of color, add the can of tomato paste.
You really want to cook the tomato paste well. I give it at least 15 to 20 minutes on the pan alone, just making sure to stir often so nothing burns. You want to cook out the acidity of the paste and bring out the sweetness and sugars that are in the paste.
Once that is done, and your paste is more like a brick red now, add the crushed tomato and reduce the heat. Your sauce is almost ready now. I usually cook this for another 25 minutes or so and finish it with some thinly sliced fresh garlic and a good amount of virgin olive oil.
Set this aside and fry up your fish and your 'chips' and you have a really yummy and excellent Saturday lunch. This is food that is meant to be shared by lots of friends so don't forget to invite your buddies.