Large communities of Jews have lived in Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East since biblical times. However they weren’t dining on corned beef, blintzes, bagels or brisket.
Joyce Goldstein’s New Mediterranean Jewish Table, with over 400 pages, is a virtual encyclopedia of everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the foods of the Mediterranean.
The recipes celebrate a colourful and delicious mosaic of this cuisine with locally grown, seasonal and unadulterated ingredients. Typical ingredients include cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, almonds, tahini paste, artichokes, tangy olives and preserved lemons.
This is not just a cookbook. It is a delicious food history book. The diverse collection of recipes spans the Mediterranean from southern Europe to North Africa to the Middle East and all points between, offering a comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible guide to the entire region’s food. Goldstein also gives the variations that each country add to the recipe.
If you’ve ever visited any of the Mediterranean countries and longed to be able to prepare the foods you’ve eaten there at home, this is the book for you. Recipes such as Italian Crispy Fried Artichokes, Moroccan Tagine of Pumpkin and Lentils, Venetian Style Marinated Fish, Chicken and Rice Pilaf Wrapped in Filo, Tunisian Hot-Pepper Condiment, Candied Eggplant (yes, candied eggplant!), or Greek Creamy Cheese–Filled Filo Pastry will have you heading for the kitchen. Admittedly the recipes are not necessarily simple or quick, but they’re well worth the raves you’ll receive.
Moroccan marinated olives (Olives Marinees)
o 1 cups drained brined black or green olives
o 6 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
o 6 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
o 3 cloves garlic, chopped
o 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, or 2 fresh red chiles, slivered lengthwise
o ½ tsp. ground cumin
o ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
o 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
o 3 or 4 thin strips lemon or orange zest, or peel of ½ preserved lemon, homemade or store-bought, rinsed and cut into strips, with some of its juice
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.
Transfer to a jar or other container, cap tightly and refrigerate for 2 days before serving. They will keep for up to 7 days. Serves 6.
Photo: Now Maroc