Sep 12, 2015  By Jewish National Fund  Category: Blueprint Negev,

In the JNF Kitchen: Osi’s Rosh Hashanah Moroccan fish

According to tradition, having fish on the table is an omen for blessings in the year to come. When the fish is served, we recite a prayer expressing the wish that "we be fruitful and multiply like fish."

There's additional symbolism in serving fish. Rosh Hashanah literally means the head of the year, and it's customary to serve fish with their heads on and to recite a blessing based on a verse in Deuteronomy: "May we be heads, not tails" -- in other words, leaders rather than followers. 

On many American tables, gefilte fish is served, topped with coin-shaped slices of carrot, which represent prosperity. And many use horseradish to bring out the sweetness of gefilte fish, to represent the hope for a "shanah tovah u'metukah," a good and sweet year.

Today we’re bringing you a flavorful and sweet fish recipe with Moroccan influences from Osi. The sweetness comes from ripe end-of-summer tomatoes brought to life by the garlic and the salt and spices.

Osi owns a catering business, Osi events, in Ofakim, a small town west of Be'er Sheva in the Negev, and she buys all her ingredients at the local market to help Ofakim’s depressed economy. Her delicious cuisine reflects her Moroccan and Iraqi roots and her stunning presentation reflects her strong design sense.

Enjoy this #RecipeOfTheWeek, and if you make any of these recipes, be sure to send a photo of your creation to or tweet it to @JNFUSA with the hashtag #JNFfoodie. We might share it! 

Shanah Tovah u'Metukah! Wishing you a good and sweet year!


6 pieces fish fillets – you can use any firm or flaky whitefish such as cod, grouper, red snapper, or tilapia
1 large bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Zest of one whole lemon
Juice of the whole lemon
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or cut into thin slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fish spices (optional, can be replaced by cumin and paprika)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tomato, cut into slices
A few sliced almonds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Place the fish fillets in a bowl, sprinkle a little salt on, and add a little bit of the lemon juice. Set aside for 30 minutes, rinse quickly, and pat dry.

In a bowl, mix the cilantro, lemon zest, the remaining lemon juice, oil, three-quarters of the garlic, and the spices.

Line a tray or a shallow dish with parchment paper. Spread the spice and herb mixture and arrange the tomato slices on top.

Lay the fish on top of the tomato slides and scatter over the remaining garlic and sprinkle with sliced almonds.  

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes covered with foil.

Osi just published a book with her recipes to honor her father's memory, called "Story of Home" or סיפור של בית. If you are interested, you can order it by writing to Osi at