20 finest Mediterranean recipes: half 1 | Life and elegance

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Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich’s pomegranate molasses hen with bulgar salad

This is an effective 1 to make when folks come spherical, as it’s actually arduous to not like – candy and bitter, loads of textures, fairly colors and just about all people likes hen. Using hen thighs right here makes it virtually unattainable to dry the meat out and ensures loads of hen flavour to return via the sturdy marinade.

Dinner for 4
vegetable oil 1 tbsp, for frying
hen thigh fillets 8, pores and skin eliminated

For the marinade
garlic 2 cloves, peeled and sliced
inexperienced chilli ½-1 (relying how scorching you prefer it), sliced
pomegranate molasses 3 tbsp
vegetable oil 1 tbsp
freshly floor black pepper ½ tsp

For the salad
bulgar wheat 200g
salt ½ tsp
olive oil 1 tsp
boiling water 200ml
shelled pistachios 50g, roasted and coarsely chopped, 1/2 reserved to sprinkle on high
currants 75g
dried mint 2 tsp
pomegranate molasses 1 tbsp
contemporary pomegranate seeds 50g, 1 tbsp reserved to sprinkle excessive
mint 1 small bunch (about 15-20g), roughly chopped
parsley 1 small bunch (about 15-20g), roughly chopped

Mix the marinade substances collectively and use to coat the hen throughout.

Cover and maintain within the fridge for at least 2 hours to marinate. You can begin the meat marinating as much as 48 hours upfront – simply depart it within the fridge till you’re prepared to begin cooking.

Preheat the oven to 200C/fuel mark 6.

Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl with the salt and oil, pour over the boiling water and canopy with cling movie for five minutes. Uncover and fluff up the bulgar utilizing a fork.

Add all of the remaining salad substances besides these you’ve reserved to make use of as garnish, and stir nicely.

Heat the vegetable oil in a big frying pan over a medium warmth and place the hen thighs smooth-side down in it. Season with salt and pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes till the thighs go a stunning darkish golden color, then flip them over and cook dinner for an additional 2 minutes. Place the frying pan within the oven for 12 minutes, by which era the hen ought to be cooked via.

Spoon the salad onto particular person plates or a big serving platter and high with the hen and the juices which have collected within the frying pan. Sprinkle with the reserved pistachios and pomegranate seeds to garnish.
From Honey & Co – Food from the Middle East by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (Hodder & Stoughton, £25)

Anissa Helou’s fattoush – blended herb and toasted bread salad

Fattoush - mixed herb and toasted bread salad.

Fattoush – blended herb and toasted bread salad. Photograph: Martin Poole for the Observer

Serves 4
gem lettuces 4, or 1 massive cos lettuce (about 400g)
spring onions 1 bunch (100g), trimmed and thinly sliced
mini cucumbers 3 (300g), sliced in medium-thin 1/2 circles
pink tomatoes 3 agency (300g), chopped into bite-sized items
flat-leaf parsley 1 bunch (200g on the stalk), washed, dried, many of the stalks minimize off, coarsely chopped
mint ½ bunch (100g on the stalk), leaves solely, coarsely chopped
purslane ½ bunch (100g on the stalk), leaves solely

For the dressing
sumac 3 tbsp
salt to style
additional virgin olive oil 6 tbsp

For the bread garnish
pita bread 1 medium, opened up, toasted and damaged into bite-sized items

Strip and discard any outer broken leaves of the lettuce, wash and dry the remainder, then minimize throughout in 1cm strips. Put the shredded lettuce in a salad bowl and add the remainder of the salad substances. Sprinkle with sumac and salt to style, pour within the olive oil and toss flippantly collectively. Taste, alter seasoning if essential, and blend within the toasted bread. Serve instantly earlier than the bread goes soggy.
From Lebanese Cuisine by Anissa Helou (Grub Street, £12.99)

Marcella Hazan’s white clam sauce

White clam sauce.

White clam sauce. Photograph: Martin Poole for the Observer

Everywhere in Venice – or in Italy for that matter – 1 can eat spaghetti with clams, however none tastes just like the dish that Cesare Benelli makes at Al Covo, the restaurant he owns together with his Texan spouse, Diane. Cesare’s genial variation on this timeless theme consists of holding again the pure juices of the just-opened clams, draining the pasta whereas it’s nonetheless underdone and ending cooking it in a frying pan along with the clam juice. The pasta, by the point it turns into absolutely cooked, drinks up all of the contemporary clam juices, reaching a density and richness of flavour no different model of the dish can match.

Serves 4
clams 18, reside, of their shells
additional virgin olive oil 5 tbsp
garlic 2 massive cloves, peeled and sliced paper skinny
parsley 1½ tbsp, chopped
scorching pink chilli pepper 2 tsp (or to style), chopped
plum tomato 1, contemporary, ripe, agency, minimize into 1cm cube with its pores and skin on, however drained of juice and all seeds eliminated
dry white wine 100ml
pasta 450g (see observe under)
contemporary basil leaves 6, torn into 2 or 3 items

Soak the clams for five minutes in a basin or sink full of chilly water. Drain and refill the basin with contemporary chilly water, leaving within the clams. Vigorously scrub the clams one after the other with a really stiff brush. Drain, refill the basin and repeat the entire scrubbing operation. Do this 2 or 3 extra occasions, at all times in contemporary adjustments of water, till you see no extra sand settling to the underside of the basin. Discard people who keep open when dealt with. Put them in a pan broad sufficient in order that the clams don’t must be piled up greater than 3 deep, cowl the pan, and switch the warmth to excessive. Check the clams incessantly, turning them over and eradicating them from the pan as they open their shells.

When all of the clams have opened up and you’ve got taken them out of the pan utilizing a slotted spoon, detach the clam meat from the shells and gently swish each bit within the pan juices to rinse off any sand. Try to not fire up the juices within the pan any greater than it’s essential to. Unless the clams are exceptionally small, minimize them into 2 and even 3 items. Put them in a small bowl pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over them, cowl the bowl tightly with cling movie, and set it apart for later, however don’t refrigerate.

Line a strainer with kitchen paper and filter the clam juices within the pan via the paper into one other bowl. Set apart for later.

Choose a frying or saute pan broad sufficient to comprise the pasta later. Put in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced garlic, and switch the warmth to medium-high. Cook the garlic, stirring it, for just some seconds with out letting it turn into colored, then add the parsley and the chilli pepper. Stir a few times, and add the diced tomato. Cook the tomato for 1-2 minutes, stirring it occasionally, then add the wine. Simmer the wine for about 20-30 seconds, letting it cut back, then flip the warmth off.

Cook the pasta in ample salted boiling water till it is vitally agency to the chew, barely in need of being absolutely cooked. When you chew a chunk off, it ought to really feel barely stiff and the narrowest of chalk-white cores ought to be exhibiting within the centre of the strand.

Turn the warmth on to excessive underneath the frying or saute pan, drain the pasta and switch it instantly to the pan. Add all of the filtered clam juice and cook dinner, tossing and turning the pasta, till all of the juice has evaporated.

If the pasta was not too underdone whenever you drained it, it ought to now be completely cooked. Taste it and, within the unlikely occasion it wants extra cooking after the clam juices have evaporated and been absorbed, add a small quantity of water.

As quickly because the pasta is completed, earlier than you flip the warmth off, add the minimize up clams with all of the oil within the bowl and the torn basil leaves, toss within the pan 2 or 3 occasions, then switch to a heat platter and serve without delay.

Note on pasta
Spaghettini takes to clam sauces extra efficiently than different shapes. An in depth sufficient 2nd is spaghetti. If it’s best to wish to use contemporary home made fettuccine as an alternative of spaghettini, keep in mind that it’ll cook dinner a lot sooner than boxed, dry, factory-made pasta. Before cooking it, put the clam juice within the frying pan and boil away 1/2 of it, in order that whenever you add the fettuccine to the pan it’s going to take much less time to cook dinner down all of the juice.
From The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan (Boxtree, £30)

Marianna Leivaditaki’s Cretan pies with slow-cooked lamb, aubergine and sheep’s cheese bechamel

Cretan pies with slow-cooked lamb, aubergine and sheep’s cheese bechamel.

Cretan pies with slow-cooked lamb, aubergine and sheep’s cheese bechamel. Photograph: Martin Poole for the Observer

This is a recipe that almost all will recognise because the substances are similar to that of moussaka; a dish eaten and cherished by many. Slow-cooked lamb scented with heat spices, candy fried aubergines and creamy bechamel make these pies an irresistible snack.

For me, making the filo pastry in precisely the best way I used to be taught as a baby is one thing I really like. Because of the quantity of olive oil within the dough, when fried these pies puff up and are stuffed with air pockets and crunchiness. You chew into them and the wealthy, fragrant filling is simply so scrumptious and moreish they merely make you smile.

The pies are often eaten like a snack in the identical manner that you’d eat a pasty. However, additionally they go very nicely with a chopped tomato and contemporary mint salad merely seasoned with olive oil and sea salt.

Makes approx 15 pies
For the lamb
olive oil 50ml
lamb shoulder 500g, off the bone, minimize into bite-size chunks
pink onion 300g, finely diced
contemporary tomatoes 500g, roughly chopped
pink wine 200ml
cinnamon stick 1
floor cloves ½ tsp
floor black pepper ½ tsp
salt to style

For the pastry
plain flour 500g
olive oil 250ml
vinegar 1 tsp
salt 1 tsp
heat water round 250ml

For the aubergines
aubergines 600g, minimize into thick slices and salted
vegetable or olive oil for deep frying (use the identical oil to fry the aubergines after which the pies)

For the bechamel
butter 70g
plain flour 1 tbsp
milk 300ml
arduous sheep’s cheese 150g, grated

Heat a saucepan over medium warmth, add the olive oil and the lamb and brown on either side. Add the onions, tomatoes, wine, spices and salt, and blend. Adjust the seasoning if essential. Cover the substances with a sheet of parchment paper and a lid and cook dinner for about 30 minutes or till the meat is tender and the sauce is thick.

For the pastry, place the flour in a bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar and salt. Start including heat water slowly whereas kneading the dough. You often want an identical quantity to that of the olive oil. Stop including water when your dough is tender and silky. Don’t over-knead the dough; cease as quickly as you’ve a dough that’s workable. Place in a bowl and let it relaxation for 15-20 minutes.

Make the bechamel by caramelising the butter in a small pan till it’s golden. Add the flour and whisk vigorously for a minute. Add the milk and cheese and cook dinner gently till the sauce thickens.

Deep fry the aubergines in a pan till golden brown.

To make the pies, break up the dough into 2. Roll out the pastry as thinly as you may with out breaking it. Cut out spherical discs utilizing a plate (approx 16cm in diameter).

Mix collectively the lamb, aubergines and bechamel in a bowl.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto 1 1/2 of the pastry and fold the opposite 1/2 over to seal the pie and create a half-moon form. Seal the pies utilizing the top of a fork to pinch either side collectively.

Fry the pies in olive or vegetable oil till golden brown on either side.

Serve instantly.
Marianna Leivaditaki is head chef of Morito Hackney Road, London E2

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cardamom rice pudding with pistachios and rose water

Cardamom rice pudding with pistachio and rose water.

Cardamom rice pudding with pistachio and rose water. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Rachela Shrefler, now in her seventies, got here to Jerusalem from Iran as a baby and later met her husband, Ezra Shrefler, a Turkish-Kurdish Jew. They are each cooks and personal Azura, a restaurant in Machne Yehuda market. Among the various pots Rachela has on the range on a Friday for the Saturday “raid” — when dozens of hungry relations descend on their home — is a pot with rice pudding. The rice sits on the recent platter till Saturday morning, when the relations sit collectively and eat it. It is easy and scrumptious, containing solely rice, milk and sugar, with a dusting of floor cinnamon.

Rice pudding was the most typical on a regular basis dessert all through the previous Sephardi world, with variations in line with neighborhood, and was eaten scorching or chilly, at varied occasions of the day. Possible additions can be honey, saffron, mastic, cinnamon and different candy spices.

Rice pudding can be frequent in Arab houses. Sami’s mom used to arrange it every now and then, inflicting the children to enter clashes over the caramelised bits that shaped on the backside of the pot. They would have it with sugar syrup flavoured with flower blossom.

Serves 4
full-fat milk 400ml
double cream 120ml
vanilla pod 1, seeds scraped
cardamom pods 8, flippantly crushed
pudding rice 120g
unsalted butter 30g, diced
condensed milk 2 tbsp
acacia honey 1 tbsp, or one other mild-flavoured honey
salt
unsalted pistachios 3 tbsp, roasted and slivered or flippantly crushed, to garnish
dried edible rose petals 1 tbsp, to garnish

For the syrup
acacia honey 1 tbsp or one other mild-flavoured honey
rose water ½ tbsp

Put the milk, cream, vanilla (pod and seeds) and cardamom in a medium saucepan and place on a excessive warmth. As quickly as the combo is about to achieve boiling level, take away from the warmth, permit to chill down and depart within the fridge to infuse in a single day, or no less than a few hours.

To put together the syrup, stir the honey, rose water and 1 teaspoon of water nicely till the honey dissolves and put aside.

Add the rice to the pan with the infused milk and cream, carry to the boil and simmer on a medium warmth, stirring on a regular basis, for 20 minutes. The rice ought to cook dinner via however nonetheless retain a chew and the pudding ought to be thick. You might want to add somewhat little bit of water, as much as 50ml, in the direction of the top of the cooking if the pudding turns into too thick earlier than the rice is completed.

Remove the pan from the warmth and thoroughly pick the cardamom pods and vanilla pod. Stir within the butter, condensed milk, honey and a pinch of salt. You can chill the combo now (and re-heat in a microwave oven later) or serve instantly in little flat bowls, sprinkled with pistachios and rose petals and drizzled with the syrup.

From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press, £27)

Theguardian.com

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