Tag Archives: appetizers

Palamida: Fish preserved in salt

This post is for Kathy, who asked how to make Greek style preserved salted fish. In Spain, as in Greece, this is a classic appetizer.

Palamida is the Greek name of bonito, a small fish in the tuna family. In Sephardic kitchens (or at least in those of the Rhodesli), that’s the only name given to the salt-cured dish made from it. Reader Ino Alvo recalls the word soymas from the Salonican Jewish community.  I have yet to figure out the etymology of the word – probably Ladino – though it is at least partially based in Greek. The Spanish name for the same dish is mojama, which derives from mujaffifa (or something similar), an Arabic word meaning dehydrated. Language lesson over.

Curing, or “cooking” fish in salt is an ancient and universal preservation technique, used by the Vikings as much as by the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians – both of whom had trade colonies in Iberia thousands of years before the Arabs arrived.

If salting fish was commonly practiced among coastal peoples, it was the Portuguese who established Atlantic salt cod as a staple food throughout Europe beginning in the 1500’s (by that time the Portuguese traders were mostly conversos).

Let’s get back to the fish itself. The longer you leave fish – or anything – in salt, Continue reading


Filed under History

Sephardic sashimi, with a twist

“My father would eat an appetizer which was raw fish with lemon squeezed onto it. I think it is called LAKADA, made from mackerel. He would eat it with greek olives and bread.
I am a Sephardic Jew who grew up in Brooklyn and now live in Kansas City and would like to know how my mother prepared this dish for my dad.” – Joseph

The recipe name you’re trying to remember is lâkerda,  the Turkish name for an appetizer of marinated raw tuna or of bonito, which is indeed a kind of mackerel (When made with bonito, it is  called palamida, which is the Greek name for that fish).  Both are oily, blue fishes.  I’m not partial to mackerel, but I love raw tuna marinated in lime juice and this is essentially the same thing.

The technique is very straightforward; probably the most difficult part of making lakerda is cleaning and boning the fish.  How you approach that will depend upon the kind of fish you’ve got, and what’s available at the fish market depends upon where you live.  If you don’t know your way around fish, Continue reading


Filed under Holidays (fiestas judias), Recipes, Your Questions Answered