israeli pickled vegetables from zahav by michael solomonov
I am on such a pickle kick. Mostly due to our friends being WAY into pickling, which we get to reap the benefits from. Yay, us!
I am also on a cookbook kick. This is because I bought a new hutch to house my cookbooks, and wouldn’t you know it – now I have more space to fill. Ha!
So I’ve been on a cookbook shopping binge lately, referencing lists like Helen Rosner’s great article – The Best Cookbooks of the Century So Far where I stumbled onto Michael Solomonov’s Zahav – A World of Israeli Cooking, which looked ah-mazing. Apparently I’ve been way out of the loop as this book has quite a cult following, and I can see why.
The book’s recipes are so inspiring to me as they include a lot of ingredients I don’t have much experience with – things like black garlic, schug (an Israeli spicy condiment), sumac, ways to use tahini I NEVER would have thought of, haloumi cheese (hadn’t even heard of it) and LOTS more.
The book also includes a really lovely narrative that discuss snippets of Solomonov’s life, family, his journey to opening a restaurant, and his palpable passion for food. If you don’t have this book, it’s a “damn gina, you gotta get this book” kind of situation. 😀 If you need a push, I showed it to our pickling pal, Laura and she ordered it the next day – it’s that good.
So, with all this gushing out of the way, I wanted to share the first recipe I tried! I was immediately drawn to these pickled vegetables as they seemed like a nice intro to some new flavors I don’t use too frequently – turmeric and the condiment schug I mention above.
The flavor of this very-easy-to-make pickle was everything I wanted it to be. The brine was fresh and vibrant with just a hint of spice from the schug (which included 20 serranos from my garden)! This was such yummy snack to have on hand and don’t even get me started on how perfect it is as a side accompaniment to a warm pita and hummus!
So – schug is a delicious condiment that is a lot like chimmichirri, but with the heat and spice turned up. WAY up. Fresh parlsey, cilantro and lemon give the sauce a great fresh zing, while the peppers and spices like coriander and cardamom give great heat and flavor. I can’t wait to use this sauce on kebabs, pitas and more. Oooh baby.
Look at how darn beautiful these veggies turn out! I’m definitely going to make these as a side the next time I make grilled chicken shawarma. I’m drooling just thinking about that dreamy meal.
Well I would hope by now that I’ve convinced you to add this book to your collection and try these delicious pickled veggies! Now, onto some of the other recipes in this awesome cookbook…