Italian cooking Jewish style

Muggine in Bianco–Jellied Striped Bass

Serves six.

1 striped bass, about four pounds

1 small onion, sliced

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1 carrot, sliced

1 celery rib coarsely cut

1 lemon, sliced

1/4 teaspoon peppercorns

Salt and white pepper to taste

1 cup mayonnaise

1. Have fish cleaned at store, head and bones separated from meat, gills removed.

2. In a fish poacher or skillet, place onion, carrot, celery, 1 lemon slice and peppercorns. Add fish fillets, head and bones, cold water to cover and one half teaspoon salt. Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes or until an eye pops and meat flakes. Remove from heat.

3. Put fish in fish mold or oval serving dish. Lightly season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice.

4. Strain broth, discarding bones, head and vegetables. Boil down broth uncovered until liquid is reduced to about one cup. Pour over fish and chill until gelatin is firm.

5. Coat with mayonnaise and garnish with slices of lemon.

Note: Servi writes she serves this as an appetizer or main course on hot summer days.

Sformato di Zucchini–Zucchini Pudding

Serves six-eight.

1 medium onion, minced

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 1/2 pounds zucchini, trimmed, scrubbed and diced

1 small carrot, grated or finely chopped

3 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

2 eggs slightly beaten

1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs, divided

1. Cook onion in three tablespoons oil over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add zucchini, carrot, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until mixture is almost a puree. Uncover and cook, stirring, until excess moisture has evaporated.

3. Remove from heat and stir in cheese if desired. Set aside to cool.

4. Sprinkle a greased dish with half the breadcrumbs. Stir eggs into cooled zucchini and spread mixture over breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs, drizzle with remaining oil and bake for 20-30 minutes, until top browns.

Note: Easy and good-tasting.

Insalata Tricolore–Tricolor Salad

Serves six, cold or at room temperature.

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

12 small new potatoes

6 small beets

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

6 sprigs fresh Italian parsley

1. Cook each vegetable separately until tender but firm.

2. Peel potatoes and beets. Slice both thin and arrange on a long serving plate with potatoes at center, string beans and beets on either side.

3. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with vinegar and oil and garnish with parsley.

Note: Easy because it can be made ahead.

Sfratti — Honey and Nut Sticks

Makes about 48 pieces.

3 cups unbleached flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Dash ground nutmeg

Freshly grated rind of one orange

15 walnut meats, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add wine and oil and mix quickly with fingers to form a ball. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate.

2. In a large skillet over high heat, bring honey to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Add spices, orange rind and nuts and cook 5 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat and continue to stir until mixture is cool enough to handle.

3. Turn onto floured surface and divide into 6 equal parts. Using hands, roll each part into a cylindrical stick about 13 inches long.

4. Take pastry dough from refrigerator and divide it into 6 equal parts. With rolling pin, roll each piece to form 4 x 14-inch strips.

5. Place one stick of filling on each strip and wrap dough around filling completely. Pinch ends closed. Place on well-floured baking sheet, seam side down.

6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from baking sheet while warm and wrap individually in foil. Leave at room temperature where Sfratti will keep fresh for several weeks. Just before serving, unwrap and cut slantwise into one-inch sections.

Note: It looks more complicated than it is, and it tastes good.