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Recipe Collection

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: None

Yield: 4 servings as a first course

The Sephardi tradition for Rosh Hashanah includes multiple symbolic blessings over a variety of small dishes. This not only provides a nice structure and added meaning to the holiday dinner, but it also gives me, the cook of the house, an opportunity to go wild with my spread. Swiss chard latkes, leek latkes, stuffed dates with goat cheese, black-eyed peas and, of course, apples in honey, are all served to the everyone around the table, each dish with its own special blessing. While I try to be imaginative and come up with new recipes every year, this ceviche is a regular at our Rosh Hashanah seder, partly because two blessings can be said over the one dish. The first is the blessing on the pomegranate, when we wish to be filled with mitzvahs (doing good, following the commandments) as the pomegranate is filled with seeds. The second is a blessing over the fish, which originally started as a blessing over a ram’s head, then evolved into the more widely available fish head and, finally, into a fish. In this blessing, we wish to become the head and not the tail. The fact that the recipe is easy and the dish is delicious makes it even more of a keeper.


  • 1 pound fresh tilapia fillet
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste


  • Cut the tilapia into ⅓-inch cubes, put in a non-reactive bowl and mix with the lemon juice. Add pomegranate seeds, chili pepper, cilantro, red onion, sumac and olive oil and mix. Cover in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Add salt to taste, mix and serve.

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