Fish has always been one of the most symbolic of foods for the Jews: It represents immortality, fertility, and the special relationship between the Jewish people and the Torah. After the afternoon services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to perform the Tashlich (throwing away) ritual—throwing bread crumbs into the water, symbolically casting off your sins—near a body of flowing water, preferably containing fish.
Across the world, Jews have long used fish in traditional recipes to connect to their family’s roots, especially during holidays—whether it’s gefilte fish made from carp, pike, and mullet for Eastern European Jews, sweet and sour carp for Alsatian and German Jews, or spicy fish balls for Jews from Tunisia. In Morocco, it’s traditional to cook a whole white-fleshed fish—with the head attached—on Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the head of the new year. (You want to be at the head of the year, the fish symbolically reminds us, not the tail.) I’ve adapted the recipe, using salmon fillet instead, but kept the flavors and aromas of the original.
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