Chef Michael Solomonov and his business partner Steven Cook run a mini restaurant empire in Philadelphia. They just released a cookbook based on their most famous restaurant, Zahav.
At Zahav, Solomonov makes Israeli standards and classics, but also adapts the techniques to work with produce and ingredients available in the Northeast. The result is delicious, vegetable-driven food that translates very well to home cooking: think Ottolenghi but not such a long, expensive ingredient list and hours of chopping.
The mezze-style of eating in Israel, however, isn’t quite compatible with a quick, weeknight meal. Here are two dishes from the book that are both healthy, filling, and come together very fast. You can make the salad while the tomato sauce is simmering, and you could have rice cooking too, or serve the meal with some good bread. Either way, it’s still mostly vegetables.
Michael Solomonov's Shakshouka and Out of Season Israeli Salad
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes
Adapted slightly from Zahav: A World of Modern Israeli Cooking
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 red or green bell peppers, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tbsp grated dried lime (optional; you could use fresh zest from 1 lime instead)
- 3 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 4 cups tomato puree
- 2 tsp sugar
- 8 large eggs
- Serrano chilies, thinly sliced
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat half the oil in a cast iron skillet large enough to accommodate 8 poached eggs over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, dried lime (if using), paprika, cumin, coriander, and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and sugar and simmer until reduced by about one-third, 10 to 12 minutes. Whisk in the remaining oil.
- Crack the eggs into the skillet, spacing them evenly in the sauce. Lower the heat, cover, and cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks remain runny, about 5 minutes. Top with Serrano chilies and cilantro and serve immediately right from the pan.
Mango, Cucumber, and Sumac-Onion Israeli Salad
- 2 mangos, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 cucumber (preferably the hothouse English kind), diced
- 1/4 cup sumac onions*
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, toss to combine, and serve with additional sumac onions on top.
*To make the sumac onions: Thinly slice 1 red onion and toss with 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp ground sumac, and 1/2 tsp Kosher salt. You can serve them immediately or let them marinate for a bit.