The New Mediterranean Jewish Table is an authoritative guide to Jewish home cooking from North Africa, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and the Middle East. It is a treasury filled with vibrant, seasonal recipes—both classic and updated—that embrace fresh fruits and vegetables; grains and legumes; small portions of meat, poultry, and fish; and a healthy mix of herbs and spices. It is also the story of how Jewish cooks successfully brought the local ingredients, techniques, and traditions of their new homelands into their kitchens. With this varied and appealing selection of Mediterranean Jewish recipes, Joyce Goldstein promises to inspire new generations of Jewish and non-Jewish home cooks alike with dishes for everyday meals and holiday celebrations.
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The New Mediterranean Jewish Table
Old World Recipes for the Modern Home
By Joyce Goldstein, Hugh D'Andrade
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESSCopyright © 2016 The Regents of the University of California
All rights reserved.
Appetizers, Spreads, and Salads
In the Mediterranean Jewish home, hospitality is of prime importance, and there is no better way to welcome family and friends than with something to eat. In Italy, the small bites to whet your appetite before the meal are called antipasti, in Spain they are tapas, and in Morocco and the Middle East the meal begins with an assortment of small plates called mezes. In Algeria, the mezes are called kemia, and in Tunisia, they are aadu. These might include a bowl of olives, stuffed grape leaves, or spreads such as hummus or chopped eggplant served with warm pita bread. Hot fritters such as falafel or small savory pastries are sometimes added to enrich the assortment of room-temperature dishes.
Leafy salads are a recent development in the history of Mediterranean Jewish cooking. Recipes for greens tossed in vinaigrette are relatively rare in older cookbooks, though these salads are popular today. The term salad in Sephardic and Mediterranean kitchens usually refers to dishes of cooked vegetables served at room temperature, and some that in contemporary terms would be dips or spreads.
I have found the vinaigrettes in Sephardic recipes from Greece and Turkey to be unusual. In the Mediterranean, in Spain and Portugal, in Italy and France, the ratio of oil to vinegar is usually three to one. But in many of the Sephardic Turkish recipes, the ratio is one to one — a very tart palate. I cannot say why this is the case. Excess acidity can act as a preservative and brighten dishes served at room temperature, but this would be true all over the Mediterranean. Vinegar is not the only acid used, either. Lemon is popular, too, with most dishes arriving with a side plate of lemon wedges. I have a natural predilection for acidic foods, so these dishes don't pucker my palate, but you will have to play with these recipes until you reach your desired tartness level.
Moroccan Marinated Olives OLIVES MARINÉES
A bowl of olives is always part of the meze table, and in Morocco, cooks like to treat the olives to a pungent marinade. In most recipes, they are soaked in cold water for an hour to remove the excess brine before the marinade is added, after which they are left to sit for at least a couple of days before serving. If you need to get them on the table quickly, however, you can rinse, drain, and dry them well and then add the marinade and serve them later the same day. Olives that are slightly cracked will absorb the marinade more easily. SERVES 6
1 2/3 cups drained brined black or green
6 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or 2 fresh
red chiles, slivered lengthwise
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 or 4 thin strips lemon or orange zest,
or peel of ½ preserved lemon,
homemade (page 356) or store-bought,
rinsed and cut into strips, with some of
Using a meat pounder or the side of a heavy cleaver, crack the olives. Put the olives in a bowl, add water to cover, and let stand for about 1 hour. Drain well, pat dry, and return to the bowl.
Add the parsley, cilantro, garlic, pepper flakes, cumin, oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest and toss well to coat evenly. Transfer to a jar or other container, cap tightly, and refrigerate for 2 days before serving. They will keep for up to 7 days.
VARIATION: Black Olives with Bitter Orange (Olives Noires à l'Orange): Use brined pitted black olives. Proceed as directed, adding the chopped pulp of 2 small bitter or blood oranges along with the other ingredients. If only sweet oranges are available, increase the lemon juice to 2 to 3 tablespoons.
Braised Green Olives with Anchovies OLIVES VERTES AUX ANCHOIS
Olives are typically served at room temperature, but this Algerian recipe proves they can be a revelation when they are eaten warm: creamy, juicy, and more aromatic. SERVES 6
8 ounces drained brined green
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets,
¼ cup water
1 lemon, peeled and cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 fresh chile, crushed, or pinch of
Using a meat pounder or the side of a heavy cleaver, crack the olives. Warm the oil in a sauté pan over low heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until fragrant. Add the olives, water, lemon, paprika, cumin, and chile and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the olives have softened, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Persian Olives with Pomegranate and Walnuts ZEYTUN-E PARVARDEH
Olives grow in abundance in Gilan Province, in northwestern Iran. This dish, which originates in the region, is served all over the country to welcome friends and family for dinner. SERVES 4 to 6
12 ounces brined green olives, drained
½ cup grated walnuts
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint, or
2 tablespoons dried mint
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
Put the olives in a bowl, add water to cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain well, pat dry, and return to the bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together the walnuts, pomegranate molasses, oil, mint, and garlic. Add to the olives and toss to mix well, then taste and adjust the seasoning. You may want a bit of salt or a bit more pomegranate molasses. Let marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours before serving.
Rice-Stuffed Vine Leaves YAPRAKES DE PARRA
Throughout Greece, Turkey, and most of the Middle East, stuffed grape leaves, commonly called dolmas, are a mainstay of the meze table. They are ideal for the Sabbath meal, as they can be prepared in advance and keep well for a few days in the refrigerator. These Sephardic Greek yaprakes stuffed with rice are served at room temperature or lightly chilled, while most meat-filled dolmas are served warm. In some parts of the Middle East, cooked lentils are added to the rice. If you like, line the pan with tomato slices or grape leaves before adding the dolmas. MAKES ABOUT 36 PIECES
1 cup basmati or other long-grain
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 or 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and
diced (fresh or canned; about 1 cup)
¼ cup finely chopped fennel fronds or
6 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
¼ cup dried currants, plumped in hot
water and drained (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
36 to 40 jarred grape leaves, well rinsed
and patted dry
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Lemon wedges and plain yogurt for
To make the filling, in a bowl, soak the rice in water to cover for 1 hour, then drain.
While the rice is soaking, warm the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Add the drained rice, stir well, and remove from the heat. (You do not need to precook the rice, as the rice will be submerged in the cooking liquid and will expand as it absorbs the liquid through the grape leaves.)
Transfer the rice mixture to a bowl. Add the tomatoes, fennel fronds, mint, parsley, pine nuts, currants, salt, and pepper and mix well.
Lay the grape leaves, smooth side down, on a work surface. Snip off the stems with scissors. Place a teaspoon or so of the rice mixture near the stem end of a leaf. Fold the stem end over the filling, fold in the sides, and then roll toward the top of the leaf, forming a cylinder. Do not roll too tightly, as the rice will expand as it cooks. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
Place the filled leaves, seam side down and close together, in a single layer in a wide saucepan. Pour in the oil and lemon juice. Place an ovenproof plate or other weight on the filled leaves so they don't unroll during cooking. Add very hot water just to cover the filled leaves and bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, turn down the heat to low, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. To test for doneness, sample a dolma; the rice should be tender. (Alternatively; cook the filled leaves in a preheated 350 °F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.)
Remove the pan from the heat and uncover so the filled leaves will cool quickly. Let them rest for about 15 minutes; then, using a spatula, carefully transfer them to a platter and let cool completely before serving. Garnish with the lemon wedges and accompany with a bowl of yogurt. Or, transfer the filled leaves to a shallow container, let cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week, then bring to room temperature before serving.
VARIATIONS: This same rice filling can be used for reynadas or rellenos (stuffed vegetables), but the rice must be precooked for 10 to 15 minutes before it is combined with the other filling ingredients because the stuffed vegetables are not submerged in liquid during cooking. Stuff the filling into 3 pounds assorted vegetables, prepared as directed (see following), being careful not to pack it too tightly, as the rice will continue to expand in the oven. Arrange the vegetables in a baking dish. Pour water to a depth of 1 inch into the dish, then mix together ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and add to the dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350 °F oven until the vegetables and rice are tender, about 45 minutes. Serve at room temperature garnished with yogurt or dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
For stuffed sweet peppers (reynadas de pipirushkas): Cut the top off of each pepper and set the tops aside. Scoop out and discard the seeds and thick ribs. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil and parboil the peppers for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well, then fill the peppers with the rice filling, replace the tops, and bake as directed.
For stuffed eggplants (reynadas de berenjena): Use small globe or Italian eggplants. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving a ¼-inch-thick wall. Chop the pulp, discarding as many seeds as possible. Sauté the chopped pulp with the onions. Sauté the eggplant cases in olive oil for about 5 minutes to soften. Fill the eggplant cases with the rice filling and bake as directed.
For stuffed zucchini (reynadas de kalavasas): If using large zucchini, halve lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. If necessary, enlarge the cavity by cutting out enough pulp to leave a ¼-inch-thick wall. Chop any removed pulp, then sauté the pulp with the onions. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil and parboil the zucchini cases for 3 minutes. Drain well, then fill the zucchini cases with the rice filling and bake as directed.
For stuffed tomatoes (reynadas de tomat): Tomatoes are handled a little differently than the peppers, eggplants, and zucchini. Cut the top off of 12 firm ripe tomatoes and scoop out the pulp, leaving a ¼-inch-thick wall. Reserve the tomato pulp and its juices and the tops. Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with salt and a little sugar. Set the tomato cases aside. In a blender or food processor, purée the tomato pulp and juices until smooth, then add to the rice filling and mix well. Spoon the filling into the tomatoes, being careful not to pack it too tightly. Place in a baking dish and replace the tops. Pour about 1/3 cup hot water into the dish and spoon ½ cup extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes. Cover and bake as directed, basting the tomatoes a few times with the pan juices and reducing the cooking time to 30 minutes if the tomatoes are small or very ripe.
[Tuna Spread for Toasted or Grilled Bread SPUMA DI TONNO CON CROSTINI
In Italy and in all parts of the Mediterranean, most recipes that call for tuna are referring to canned tuna packed in olive oil. These crostini can be part of an antipasto assortment at a dairy-based meal. If served before a meat meal, you can bind the tuna with mayonnaise instead of butter, though the result will not have the same unctuous texture. SERVES 6
1 can (8 ounces) olive oil-packed tuna,
preferably Italian or Spanish,
5 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely
Fresh lemon juice for seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 small slices coarse country bread,
toasted or grilled
3 tablespoons brined capers, rinsed and
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted
Put the tuna in a food processor and pulse to break it up. Add the butter, lemon zest, and anchovies and process until a smooth, creamy purée forms. Season with lemon juice and pepper. If using the anchovies, no salt should be needed. If not, season to taste with salt.
Spread the mixture on the bread slices, dividing it evenly, and top with the capers and olives.
Red Pepper, Walnut, and Pomegranate Spread MUHAMMARA
Peppers, both hot and sweet, are native to the New World and were carried by Spanish and Portuguese explorers to the Old World in the 1500s, from which they were fairly quickly disseminated globally. Each country now cultivates sweet and hot varieties to suit the local taste. You need red bell peppers to make this Syrian and Turkish spread, which is usually served with pita bread but is also a delicious spicy condiment for cooked meats. Make a little extra to spoon over grilled or broiled fish or even simple roasted potatoes. MAKES ABOUT 1 ¾ CUPS
2 large red bell peppers
1 ¼ cups (about 6 ounces) walnuts,
½ cup fine dried bread crumbs
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup tomato purée
1 tablespoon coarsely ground red pepper
flakes or crushed Aleppo or Maras
1 teaspoon ground toasted cumin
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate
molasses or fresh lemon juice, or a
Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for
To roast the bell peppers, hold them directly over the flame on a gas stove top or place on a sheet pan under a preheated broiler and turn them as needed until the skin is blistered and charred on all sides. Transfer to a closed plastic container or a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Peel or rub off the skin from each pepper, then stem, halve lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds and thick ribs, and chop coarsely.
In a food processor or blender, combine the roasted peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, oil, tomato purée, pepper flakes, cumin, allspice, sugar, 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, and a pinch of salt and process until a smooth purée forms. Taste and adjust the seasoning with pomegranate molasses or salt if needed. Spoon the purée into a small bowl, cover, and chill until serving. Garnish with the parsley just before serving.
Cooked Pepper and Tomato Salad MISHWIYA
Called choukchouka in Algeria and mishwiya in Morocco and Tunisia, this classic salad is traditionally served as a first course but would make a fine accompaniment or sauce to a main course of fish or meat. It is a staple in the North African pantry and is often served at Rosh Hashanah. The Algerian version is much milder, with no heat and no lemon. I prefer the Moroccan version, which is fairly piquant with spice and lemon. Tunisian cooks sometimes turn this into a niçoise-like salad by garnishing it with canned tuna, olives, and hard-boiled eggs. You can also combine the roasted peppers and tomatoes with all of the remaining ingredients except the parsley, skip the simmering step, and garnish the salad with strips of preserved lemon. SERVES 8
4 pounds firm ripe tomatoes
2 pounds green bell peppers
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small fresh chile, seeded and finely
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Peel of ½ preserved lemon, homemade
(page 356) or store-bought, rinsed and
finely diced, or pulp of ½ fresh lemon,
finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf
parsley or cilantro
To roast the tomatoes and bell peppers, preheat the broiler and arrange them on a sheet pan (work in batches if necessary). Place under the broiler and turn them as needed until the skin is blistered and charred on all sides. Transfer to a closed plastic container or a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Peel or rub off the skin from each tomato and pepper. Stem the peppers, halve lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds and thick ribs, and chop the flesh. Core the tomatoes, halve crosswise, ease the seeds out of the seed sacs, and chop the flesh.
Combine the roasted tomatoes and peppers, garlic, chile, cayenne to taste, preserved lemon, salt, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and oil. You can serve it immediately or place over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, and simmer until all of the liquid released by the tomatoes has evaporated and the mixture is as thick as marmalade, about 30 minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with the parsley
Excerpted from The New Mediterranean Jewish Table by Joyce Goldstein, Hugh D'Andrade. Copyright © 2016 The Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Jews in America, 1,
Mediterranean Jewish Communities, 2,
Old World Food in a New World Kitchen, 2,
About the Recipes, 4,
The Kosher Laws, 12,
The Food of Jewish Holidays, 13,
APPETIZERS, SPREADS, AND SALADS, 18,
SAVORY PASTRIES, 58,
EGGS AND FRITTERS, 92,
RICE, PASTA, AND GRAINS, 142,
CONDIMENTS AND PRESERVES, 354,
Pantry Ingredients, 427,