I loved everything about this beautiful salad. We ate it with Turkish Grilled Chicken– such a wonderful meal. It was one of the best zucchini dishes I’ve ever made.
This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, contributed by Elizabeth Mindreau. It was re-created from a salad served at Coal Office, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant in London.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
about 3/4 to 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 T tahini
zest from 1 large lemon, plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small shallot, halved and thinly sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp za’atar
2 small/medium zucchini (12 to 16 ounces total), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
ground sumac, to serve, optional
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the chickpeas, shallot, vinegar and za’atar. Cover and microwave until the shallot is wilted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (see Tip)
When the chickpeas have cooled, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the zucchini, mint, dill and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the chickpea-zucchini mixture to a platter, spooning it around the edge.
Scoop the yogurt mixture into a mound in the center of the chickpea-zucchini mixture.
Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with sumac, if using.
Tip: Don’t forget to cover the bowl containing the chickpeas and shallots when microwaving. Covering traps steam that helps wilt the shallots and soften the chickpeas. And remember to occasionally stir the chickpea-shallot mixture as it cools. This helps ensure the chickpeas evenly absorb the seasonings pooled at the bottom of the bowl while also hastening the cooling.
I have an overwhelming collection of tahdig recipes. I have always wanted to make this Persian rice dish!
The dish is named for the crispy layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pot is known as tahdig, which means “bottom of the pot.” This version also has thinly sliced potatoes in the crispy layer. This was my first attempt, and although delicious, it was a little bit too crispy and dark on the top. I modified the cooking times in the recipe below.
This recipe is from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski. I used Yukon gold potatoes and seasoned the finished dish with sprinkled sumac.
Yield: Serves 8 as a side dish
2 cups white Basmati rice
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 small Russet or 1-2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16-inch thick
1 T coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 T dried cranberries, coarsely chopped, optional
sumac, for sprinkling, optional
Place the rice in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cold water to cover by 1 inch; stir. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Drain the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the saffron with 1 tablespoon of hot water; set aside.
Place the rice in a large saucepan. Add 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the rice is slightly softened on the outside, 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water, then shake well to remove excess water. Set aside.
Cut out a round of parchment paper to cover the bottom of a 10-inch wide or other wide heavy pot with a lid, such as a Dutch oven. (I used a 10-inch enameled cast iron Dutch oven.) Line the pan with the parchment round.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot and melt over medium-low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Arrange the potatoes, overlapping, on the bottom of the pan.
Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoons salt to the bowl with the saffron water and gently stir to combine.
Spoon the rice on top of the sliced potatoes (do not press or pack down). Using a fork, gently spread the rice in an even layer.
Cook, uncovered, over medium or medium-low heat, until the mixture is fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. (I cooked it for 10 minutes over medium heat but would reduce the time to 7 minutes next time- possibly over medium-low heat.)
Wrap a clean dishcloth or flour sack towel around the lid and tightly cover the pan, folding the cloth over the edges of the lid.
Reduce the lowest possibly setting and cook, undisturbed, until the potatoes are crisp (you can peek by lifting up the mixture at an edge or two with a large serving spoon), 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours.
Uncover and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
Remove the pan from the heat. Invert the dish onto a serving plate, then lift off and discard the parchment paper.
Sprinkle with the parsley, cranberries, and sumac, as desired.
It’s all about the sauce for me, and it’s all about the sauce in this dish. I try to adapt most skin-on chicken recipes to use my go-to protein, boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, but the skin is essential in this preparation.
This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Alison Roman. I used red wine vinegar and stock in the sauce and also added garlic. We ate it with a giant green salad instead of the lemon-dressed lettuce in the original recipe but I included the gem lettuce option below.
I served this tangy chicken and roasted mushrooms with crusty sourdough baguette (to soak up the sauce), roasted potatoes, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Amazing!
Yield: 6 servings
For the Chicken:
3 1/2 to 4pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken (use any combination of legs, thighs or drumsticks, or breasts halved crosswise)(I used 8 bone-in chicken thighs)
Kosher salt and ground pepper
2tablespoons canola oil
2medium red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
8 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2cup red wine vinegar or white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1/2bunch thyme, plus leaves for garnish
For the Roasted Mushrooms:
2pounds mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, button, chanterelle or oyster, torn into large pieces or quartered (I used 24 oz cremini mushrooms and 10 oz button mushrooms, quartered)
3 T olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Lemony Salad Greens with Sumac & to Serve:
mesclun salad greens or 2 to 3heads Little Gem lettuces, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and ground pepper
sumac, for sprinkling
Olive oil, for drizzling
crusty bread, for serving
Greek yogurt, labneh, or sour cream, for serving
Dry chicken with paper towels and season chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. (I used a large and wide enameled cast iron pan.)
Working in batches, add chicken skin-side down and cook until skin is golden brown and releases easily from the pot, 7 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken to brown on the other side, another 4 to 8 minutes, depending on what cut you’re using. As the chicken browns, transfer it to a large plate.
Add onions and garlic to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, without moving them so they have a chance to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add vinegar and stock/water, then use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Bring to a simmer and return chicken to the pot, skin-side up, nestling all the pieces in there. (They don’t need to be totally submerged.) Scatter thyme around and place the lid on top. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a gentle simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, with an internal temperature of 165 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the mushrooms. Heat the oven to 425 or 450 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
Toss mushrooms with olive oil on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once or twice, until the mushrooms are deeply browned and crispy on the outside but tender on the inside, 15 to 20 minutes depending on the type of mushroom and strength of your oven. (I roasted potatoes in the same oven.)
If serving the salad, toss Little Gems with lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on a large platter. Sprinkle with sumac and drizzle with olive oil before serving. (I served the chicken with green salad instead.)
Remove chicken from heat and season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper as needed.
Transfer chicken, onions and thyme to a large serving platter, spooning cooking liquid over the top, or alternatively, serve directly from the pot, with the mushrooms and salad alongside you like. Add toast and something creamy if you choose.
Additional Suggestions to Complete the Meal:
Bread: Slice any good, crusty loaf of your choosing about 3/4-inch thick and toast until golden brown. Rub with a cut garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil. Garlicky or spicy bread crumbs would also be welcome if you’re feeling carb-inclined. I served the dish with sliced sourdough baguette.
Something creamy: Chicken loves more fat, especially this very tangy chicken. A bowlful of any seasoned creamy ingredient like sour cream, full-fat yogurt or labneh sprinkled with chives is excellent for spooning onto or underneath the chicken, over lemony lettuces and onto toast. I served the chicken with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Quick pickles: For a quick, light pickle, toss thinly sliced vegetables such as radishes or fennel with a little thinly sliced shallot and season with a good splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.
I made all of these sautéed chicken dishes months apart, but it seems right to share them at the same time. 🙂
My Austrian sister-in-law has traditional schnitzel with freshly made mayonnaise and cucumber salad for dinner every Christmas Eve. It is absolutely delicious. I loved this Middle Eastern variation.
This recipe was adapted from Bringing it Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating by Gail Simmons with Mindy Fox. I substituted chicken thighs for chicken cutlets and cooked the dish in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Perfect.
This schnitzel would also be wonderful served as a sandwich in a pita with hummus.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Israeli Salad:
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp za’atar
1 tsp sumac, optional
freshly ground black pepper
For the Schnitzel:
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup panko
1 1/2 T za’atar
freshly grated zest of 1/2 lemon
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 chicken cutlets, about 1 pound
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
lemon wedges, for serving
To start the salad:
In a large bowl, combine the bell pepper, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, parsley, and mint.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the schnitzel:
Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place an ovenproof platter or a baking sheet int he oven to warm.
In a wide, shallow bowl, stir together the flour, 1 tsp salt, and a generous pinch of pepper.
In another shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and a pinch of salt.
In a third shallow bowl, combine the panko, za’atar, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
Place each piece of chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat pounder or a rolling pin, gently pound each piece of chicken to 1/4-inch thickness.
Pat the meat dry and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper.
Dredge in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess.
Dip in the eggs, letting excess drip off, then gently press into the panko mixture to completely coat.
Transfer the chicken to a large plate.
Heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat, until hot but not smoking. (I used a cast iron skillet over medium heat.)
Fry the chicken in 2 batches, turning once, until cooked through and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Drain each batch on paper towel-lined plates, season with salt, then transfer to the platter in the oven to keep warm.
To finish the salad:
Add the 2 T oil, lemon juice, za’atar, sumac, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture.
Toss to combine.
Serve the schnitzel with the salad piled on top (or vice versa!) with lemon wedges on the side.
The culmination of my daughter’s summer theatre camp involves days of dress rehearsals followed by matinée and evening performances. She absolutely loves it all and it is worth every second, but it was also difficult to prepare and eat dinner during this time. That’s show business, right? 😉
This genius quick, healthy, and filling appetizer turned dinner saved the day the evening of her final performance. The recipe was adapted from Ina Garten via Smitten Kitchen.com. I made my favorite hummus, added arugula, used a peeled CSA cucumber, and substituted red wine vinegar for lemon juice in the dressing. I could eat it all summer long!
This salad was fresh, bright, colorful, and loaded with flavor. I loved the crunch from the pomegranate seeds too. We ate it as part of our Middle Eastern feast along with grilled chicken thighs, Hummus, Baked Rice, Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj, and warm naan. Delicious!
This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I made my own za’atar spice blend and omitted the mint. It would be a lovely side with any grilled meat. Perfect for a picnic too.
This was such a lovely dinner, I felt like I should have been making it for a dinner party! My family and I did enjoy it… and we didn’t have to share. 😉 We ate this main dish along with Spicy Israeli Couscous with Summer Squash. Great.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Grace Parisi. I made my own za’atar blend and included the ingredients and instructions below.
1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely pulsed in a spice grinder
1 tsp sumac
1/4 tsp coarse salt
To Finish the Dish:
1/4 cup canola oil
coarse Kosher salt
Two 12-ounce pork tenderloins, sliced crosswise 1 1/2 inches thick and pounded 1/2 inch thick
2 poblano peppers
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Make the Za’atar: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until lightly toasted. Pulse in a spice grinder until a powder is formed. Combine with sumac, thyme, and coarse salt.
In a medium bowl, combine the za’atar with the oil. Add the pork, turn to coat and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning frequently, until blackened; transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool slightly. Peel and seed the chiles; cut into thin strips.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pork marinade. Add the pork and cook over high heat, turning once, until white throughout and lightly browned, 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a platter.
Add any remaining marinade oil to the skillet. Add the onion and poblano and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and toss. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook until the tomatoes are just softened, 4 minutes.
Spoon the tomato-poblano sauce over the pork and serve.