| bite the budget |

One Fish, Two Fish

FISH IS SOMETHING  you either like or really don’t. Or perhaps you’re the type who eats tuna but prefers not to know where it came from. (A can, right? Just like milk comes from a bottle….) Fish can be a great budget option for a weeknight dinner. With simple recipes, you can make a delicious dish that will appeal to even your pickiest eaters.

We’ve talked a lot about chicken. Chicken can be cooked in many different ways and smothered in all sorts of flavors, but at the end of the day, it’s still chicken. If you want to change things up a bit, try fish. The beauty of fish is that with so many different colors, textures, and flavors to choose from, everyone can find something they like.


The Story with Salmon

Salmon is one of the most widely consumed types of fish in the world. It’s pretty, tasty, and healthy too. But it comes with a price.

Since this is a budget column, you might think salmon doesn’t get a place. In general, I’m inclined to agree. That being said, what if you’re really craving a delicious, succulent piece of salmon, cooked to perfection? Here are some tips so you can have your salmon and eat it too.

First of all, buying salmon in a non-Jewish store is permissible as long as they’re sold packaged from a commercial fish company (not cut up in the store) and have their skin/scales intact. Buying salmon from stores like Aldi will leave you with excellent fish and more money in your pocket.

Second, buy a side of salmon. Pieces cut exactly to your liking definitely cost more. (If you don’t need a whole side, you can cook and freeze it.)

Cooked right, salmon is an incredible food. It doesn’t need a lot of ingredients to deliver, nor does it need expensive ingredients. Use things you have in the house so you don’t spend more.


Don’t Forget about Tuna!

What could be easier than opening a can?

I’m not suggesting you serve tuna sandwiches for dinner, although no one’s judging if you do! But tuna is also a fish and thereby a protein that’s viable to use for dinner. Just maybe not every night…. Since tuna contains mercury, health advisors say it isn’t healthy to consume tuna more than two or three times a week.

Using off-brands means cheaper tuna. Different brands have slightly different tastes — find the one you like.


Something’s Fishy

When pressed for other fish ideas, people tend to get stuck. “Well, there’s white fish,” they might say. That’s what we call every other fish, be that tilapia, cod, trout, flounder, or any others you can think of. Herring, anyone?

Even if your kids aren’t fans of simple white fish, if you season it right, it can be a tasty option for the adults to enjoy. This recipe is so good, your kids might even ask for some!


Simple White Fish Marinade

I use this marinade on tilapia (amnun in Israel) but it can be used on any kind of fish fillet. A simple, quick marinade that takes seconds to make, supper prep has never been easier!


  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp honey
  • generous sprinkle garlic powder
  • 6 fillets tilapia

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Add the ingredients straight onto the fish and smear to coat.

Bake covered for 20–25 minutes (depending on the type of fish) until the fish flakes when rubbed lightly with a fork. Enjoy!

Serve with the following side dish.


Chinese Noodles

This side dish elevates a simple fillet of fish to a gourmet dinner. Thanks to my sister Tzippy for this great combo!


  • 1 16-oz (450-g) pkg angel hair pasta or spaghetti, cooked according to pkg directions
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 red peppers, cut into strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced (optional)
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 11/2 tsp garlic powder

Heat oil in a pan. Sauté onion until translucent. Add pepper and garlic and sauté until slightly soft.

Mix soy sauce, honey, and garlic powder in a bowl and add half the sauce into the vegetables. Simmer until soft.

Add the cooked pasta and the rest of the sauce. Mix well.

Serve hot.

Serving suggestion: Flake the fish into small pieces and mix into the noodles for a one bowl meal.


Succulent Salmon

This is a delicious recipe that makes the most delicious, tender salmon every time. With these simple ingredients, you can’t go wrong!


  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • side of salmon

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Mix the first three ingredients in a bowl and smear liberally over the fish.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The salmon is done when the topping is slightly golden and the fish flakes when rubbed gently with a fork. Serve whole on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, and olives.

Tips: Buy frozen fish. Frozen products are always cheaper than fresh. While the taste might not be quite the same to connoisseurs, cooked right, the fish will be perfectly delicious.

Buy fish with the skin on. The less the fishmonger had to do before they sold it to you, the cheaper it’s going to be. With a sharp knife, you can skin it yourself, or cook it with the skin on; it will come off very easily once cooked.


Fried Fish

To be honest, fried fish is expensive. Frying an entire fillet for each person really adds up, and you wind up wondering if the price and bother was even worth it when not everyone eats it. While authentic British fried fish is a large piece of fish fried in a beer batter, this recipe uses a little less fish and is something familiar your kids will actually eat. Both bonuses in my book!


Tasty Fish Sticks

Practical meets tasty in this recipe. Similar to schnitzel, these can be baked or fried and are delicious either way. The spices in this recipe really take these fish sticks up a level.


  • 8½ oz (240 g) skinless white fish fillets
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup matzah meal or bread crumbs
  • ½ Tbsp garlic powder, divided
  • ½ Tbsp onion powder, divided
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • pinch black pepper

Slice the fish into 1-inch (2½-cm) thick fingers. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Set up 3 bowls.

Bowl 1: Mix half the salt, onion powder, and garlic powder with the flour.

Bowl 2: Add the lightly beaten egg.

Bowl 3: Mix the other half of the salt, onion powder, and garlic powder with the paprika, pepper, and matzah meal or bread crumbs.

Dip the fish into the flour mixture to cover and shake lightly to remove excess. Next, dip it into the egg and then the bread crumb or matzah meal mixture. Lay the fish onto the lightly oiled baking sheet and continue until each piece is coated. Spray with cooking spray and bake for 12–14 minutes.

Check for doneness by cutting a fish stick in half to see if it’s cooked through.


For spicy fish sticks: Add ½ Tbsp cumin, 2 tsp turmeric, and ½ Tbsp cilantro to the bread crumbs mixture. This adds flavor and a little kick. For even more kick, add some chili powder, to taste.

If you’re short on time: Skip the flour and egg and instead coat the fish with a thin layer of mayonnaise mixed with spices. Then dip into seasoned matzah meal or bread crumbs and continue as above.

To fry: You can also fry this fish; just skip the cooking spray. Fry on each side until golden and check for doneness as above.

No British fish and chips dinner is complete without the chips, of course. (For the uninitiated, those are French fries.) So if you were hoping for some real British cuisine, how about a chip butty? Served in places called “chippies,” this is a classic British street food. Disclaimer: You won’t find this in a posh restaurant!

To make at home: Spread a thin layer of Mehadrin Butter onto 2 slices of bread or 2 sides of a roll and fill with freshly fried and salted French fries. Top with ketchup if desired. (Skip the butter if using for a fleishig meal.)

Serve with fried fish or on its own and enjoy. Remember to call the French fries “chips” for the authentic experience!


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 876)

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