Chicken with Sour Cherries and Onions

An easy and delicious dish that combines Eastern Mediterranean and Asian traditions.

The tart sour cherries are traditionally cooked with meatballs in Iran, Syria, and Turkey, and since I love the combination of fruit with all kinds of meat, I thought chicken would be great with cherries. Boned and skinned chicken thighs cook fast, so the cherries don’t lose their bright color when the dish is done.

Last but not least, I balance the cherries’ tartness with plenty of sliced Kea onions which are wonderfully sweet.  

 

 

I marinate the chicken with soy sauce and wine, as I do when I make a stir-fry, and this adds an extra layer of flavor.   

 

Serve with just fresh crusty bread, or with toasted pita triangles, like Anissa Helou’s Kabab Karaz. Great with a simple bulgur pilaf, as well as with mashed or roasted potatoes. In the winter it is ideally complemented with David Tanis’ Baked Polenta.   

 

Serves 4-5 (more…)

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Cold Yogurt Soup with Cucumber, Herbs, and Rose Petals

This hauntingly aromatic Persian soup, adapted from a recipe by Iranian-American chef Hoss Zaré, combines nuts and raisins with dill, mint, chives or scallion, and dried rose petals, all suspended in yogurt, creating a delicate, refreshing, and crunchy soup.

Unlike the boldly flavored cacik, the Turkish yogurt-cucumber-garlic soup, common throughout the Mediterranean –an ancestor of tzatziki– this older, fragrant Persian soup has no garlic.

I use almonds or pistachios instead of the walnuts the original recipe calls for, and I add preserved lemon, which enhances the soup with its salty-tangy flavor. I suggest you double the recipe and enjoy it the next morning for breakfast.

 

 

Serves 6 (more…)

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My Boiled Vegetable Salad

This is a simple, delicious salad/lunch that you can make any season with the most wonderful local vegetables and greens you can find. With Claudia Roden, we shared our happiness that boiling vegetables have at last become the IN thing to do!  Our book editors, until recently, had stricken out of our recipes the mere mention of boiling any vegetable or green, replacing it by ‘blanching’ or ‘steaming…’ Read more

 

Potatoes, carrots and a couple of onions are boiled first, in a pot with 1-2 teaspoons salt, until tender and easily pierced with a fork. 

 

 

We discard nothing in our part of the world, and we have learned that for example the root-ends of spinach are delicious when fresh, (more…)

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Grilled Whole Fish in Chili, Garlic, and Mint Sauce

In Jaffa, the picturesque old city next to Tel Aviv, Margaret Tayar has a famous seafood restaurant specializing in Moroccan cuisine prepared in her distinctive way.  Her food –highly spiced and fragrant– is delicious.  She is known for her fish couscous and for her simple and delicious spicy grilled fish.  The recipe is my adaptation of Margaret’s fresh and zesty salsa that so well dresses the charcoal-grilled bream.  Serve with steamed potatoes, zucchini, and carrots.

 

 

Serves 2 (more…)

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Roasted Squash and Bread Salad with Tahini-yogurt Sauce

In this simple salad the sweet, sumptuous roasted squash is paired with crunchy olive-oil-croutons, and complemented with tangy yogurt-tahini sauce,  creating an irresistible combination.

It is inspired from a dish served by Semsa Denizsel, the celebrated chef and former owner of Kantin Lokanta in Istanbul. She has now moved to the Aegean coast, and teaches cooking in her beautiful home, amidst olive trees.

 

 

Serves 4-6 (more…)

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