A man comes to a Rabbi for an advice. He describes the situation, then relates his wife’s opinion. Next, he reports his father-in-law’s point of view, his brother-in-law’s outlook on the issue, his mother-in-law’s judgement, his best friend’s sage estimation of the matter…
“Wait, Reb Yid, – interrupts the Rabbi,- don’t you have your own opinion?”
“I do, Rabbi, I do! But I disagree with it!”
We have three opinions regarding the traditional dairy meal on Shavuos, not counting the Yemenites who don’t have this tradition altogether. Some follow the custom of Rama by eating a dairy meal, followed by a meat meal about an hour later, to commemorate a special offering of the two loaves of bread, one made of the last harvest of barley, and the other one of the first harvest of wheat, brought to the Bais haMikdash on Shavuos. The assumption is that with two separate meals, one would eat two loaves of bread. There are also those who have a dairy meal at night, as the Yom Tov begins, and a meat meal at lunch the next day.
Our family has always followed the third tradition, whereby both the evening meal and lunch are dairy. However, as filling as blintzes might be,and even though they are served as the third course, after the appetizers and the cold green borscht, they are still not considered a real main course. Since meat is out of the question, we have to have fish. In the old times, before the Black Sea was polluted to the extent of losing several species of fish completely, fish had been plentiful. During the summer, my father used to perch on the rock above the beach with his fishing pole early in the morning, before going to work, and always bring a fresh catch to fry for kids’ lunch.
As there is no specific kind of fish, or way to prepare it for Shavuos, any kosher fish could be used, and any way to make it is fine. We just liked fried flounder, so that’s what we always had as a holiday main course. Another kind of fish that comes out very good prepared this way is tulapia. Rather than customary flour, I use finely ground corn meal, mixed with fresh chopped parsley, seasoned only with salt and pepper.
Boned and skinless filet is dredged through the coating mix. Since I don’t dip fish in egg before breading, I spread a fair amount of coating mix on a flat dish, put each filet on top, then pour some more on top of the filet and pat it, pressing fish into the coating mix under it. Flip it over and repeat the procedure. This way, your fish will be breaded evenly, and the breading will cling to it.
Meanwhile, preheat frying pan to medium and mist it with oil. Arrange breaded fish and fry on both sides until golden brown. I usually drizzle it on both sides with a few drops of lemon juice. Remove to a dish lined with paper towels to eliminate excess oil. A perfect side dish is a serving of new or fingerling potatoes, boiled, drained, and seasoned with garlic and dill.
- 3 lbs fresh or frozen flounder or tulapia, boned and skinless
- 1 cup finely ground corn meal
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: a few drops of lemon juice to taste
- Wash each fish fillet and pat dry
- Mix corn meal with parsley, salt and pepper, spread on flat dish
- Place each fillet in the center on top of coating mix, cover it on top with more coating mix from both sides, pat and press down
- Turn fillet over and repeat procedure, making sure it is breaded evenly
- Pre-heat frying pan to medium, mist with oil, arrange fish
- If you like, you can drizzle some lemon juice before flipping fish over
- Fry on both sides until golden brown
- Remove to a dish lined with paper towels to eliminate excess oil