Recently, my boyfriend bought one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks: Jerusalem. I immediately started reading it from the beginning, till my head was swimming with all the history of Israeli food and the exotic spices I had never heard of before.
For those of you not familiar with Ottolenghi, he is an amazing chef born and raised in Jerusalem, but now working out of London. I have his vegetarian cookbook Plenty. I find his recipes challenging to make because they are authentic to the times where preparing meals was not a rushed affair, and cooking was an all-day activity meant to bring the family together. His recipes are about culture and socialization, not nutrition and functionality. Also, Middle Eastern food is something that is quite foreign to me. And while I love hummus, falafel and shawarma, anything beyond our westernized take on Middle Eastern food is not something I encounter often. As such, I’ve decided to cook my way through Jerusalem as a learning (and eating) project, and by the time I’m done, I’d like to be as comfortable discussing the merits of harissa and labneh as well as I can those of sashimi-grade fish and roti. I’ll be making a dish once a week because the ingredient list is always quite long and it’s not so easy making the recipes on weekdays.
So let’s get started with the first two recipes I attempted with fantastic results!! Turkey and zucchini burgers with green onion and cumin, served with a dollop of creamy sumac sauce, with fattoush salad on the side. For exact ingredient measurements and details, Ottolenghi has posted the recipe on his webpage.
- Ground turkey
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Make the sour cream sauce by mixing sour cream, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, sumac, salt and pepper.
- Mix the ground turkey, grated zucchini, green onions, egg, mint, cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Shape into burgers.
- Heat a frying pan and sear the burgers on each side.
- Place the seared burgers on a baking sheet and bake in a hot oven at 425F.
- Serve with sumac sauce and a salad like the fattoush salad I made to go with it.