Salad for breakfast. Vegetables every which way. Earthy hummus and the primal delight of mopping it up with a torn pita. Soul-satisfying stews and soups. The light-as-a-cloud texture of real couscous. A profound love for chicken. Pilafs, shakshukas, grilled meats, and fish from the glittering sea. The vibrant, utterly delicious (and healthy!) pleasures of eating food alive with spice, bright with lemon and olive oil, and showered with fresh herbs.
These are just some of the reasons why Israeli food is so of the moment—because this is how we want to eat today. And all of it—from the simplest chopped salad to nutty, soft, crumbly Tahini Shortbread Cookies—is found in SHUK: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking.
Written by two leading female voices in Israeli cuisine—Einat Admony, author of Balaboosta and chef/owner of Balaboosta and two other New York City restaurants, and internationally known food authority Janna Gur-Shuk captures the vivacious flavours and spirit of Israeli cooking.
Through over 140 easy-to-make recipes plus changing techniques, Shuk shows how to turn fresh ingredients that are as common here as they are in Israel into the creative, delicious dishes that were developed when people from around the world converged in that sun-drenched land, turned deserts into gardens, shopped frugally in the markets, and forged a new melting-pot cuisine. With on-site photographs next to stunning food shots—and appended by a stop-by-stop tour of the bustling markets in Israel—Shuk is a home cook’s immersion in all the warmth and passion os Israeli cuisine.
About the Authors:
Einat Admony is the author of Balaboosta and chef/owner of New York City’s popular Balaboosta, Kish-Kash, and Taïm restaurants, which have been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times, and New York magazine, among many other newspapers, magazines, and websites. When Admony is not at her restaurants, she can be found at her home in Brooklyn, cooking for the crowd of family and friends who regularly gather around her dining table.
Janna Gur was born in Riga, Latvia, and immigrated to Israel in 1974. She is the founder of Al Hashulchan, the premier Israeli food and wine magazine, which she edited for almost 30 years. Gur is the author of The Book of New Israeli Food and Jewish Soul Food: From Minsk to Marrakesh and has written and/or edited nearly 40 other cookbooks. She lives in Tel Aviv.
My Mom’s Sweet-and-Sour Baked Eggplant
Serves 4 to 6
The Shabbat oven in an observant household like my mother’s is always filled to capacity. An overnight main dish like Iraqi tbit takes up most of the space, with a pot of overnight bread like kubaneh filling much of the rest. Into any remaining space, my mom would tuck a couple of vegetarian sides, such as this sweet-and-sour baked eggplant.
2 medium globe or 4 smaller Asian eggplants
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
½ cup (120 ml) tomato paste
1½ cups (360 ml) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon chile flakes
Slice the eggplants into ½-inch-thick (1.5 cm) rounds and transfer to a colander set in the sink or over a bowl. Cover the eggplants generously with salt and let sit for 30 to 45 minutes to draw out the water.
Preheat the oven to 210°F (100°C) if you want to bake the dish overnight, or to 250°F (120°C) for a 3-hour bake.
Rinse the eggplants thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
Line a plate or tray with paper towels. Fill a wide deep skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) and heat over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, or until it reaches 350°F (175°C) on a deep-fry thermometer. Depending on the size of your pan, add about half the eggplant slices; they should be in one layer with some space between them. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, then lift one eggplant slice and check the bottom—if it’s deep golden brown, it’s time to flip. Fry for 2 minutes on the second side, shaking the pan occasionally so they don’t stick together and will fry evenly. Using a slotted spoon or a spatula, transfer the fried eggplant to the paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant. Let the eggplant cool; don’t wash the pan yet.
Add the onion slices to the remaining oil in the pan and fry gently over medium heat until soft, fragrant, and slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Drain on more paper towels to remove excess oil.
Line the bottom of a medium gratin or casserole dish with the onion. Sprinkle with salt. Layer the fried eggplant slices on top of the onion.
Whisk together the tomato paste, water, sugar, lemon juice, chile flakes, and salt to taste in a small bowl and pour the mixture over the eggplant. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for at least 3 hours at 250°F (120°C) or overnight at 210°F (100°C).
Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony & Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Used with permission from the publisher.