This month’s issue of Food & Wine is focused on the Mediterranean (Cruise ships! Turkey! Spain!), which works out damn well for one Michael Solomonov. The former Marigold Kitchen chef and current face behind Zahav took Food & Wine’s Jen Murphy on a culinary trail of Israel.
Well, not exactly. Murphy wrote about a research trip Solomonov and his staff took to Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Solomonov’s hometown of Ganei Yehuda:
“The group set out to hit four kebab shops one day, five hummus parlors the next. A daylong eggplant extravaganza segued into a night of club-hopping and ended with a predawn bureka, a savory breakfast pastry stuffed with tangy Bulgarian feta cheese. […] At Busi, a kebab house in Tel Aviv’s Hatikvah Quarter, Solomonov likes to order one of each of the specialties: shashlik (skewered chunks of meat, like chicken liver) and kofta (ground meat—usually lamb or beef—mixed with spices, then formed around skewers). Bulgarian- and Romanian-style kebabs are thicker and have a lighter texture than others, because cooks knead a small amount of sugar and baking soda into the meat. “But all Israeli kebabs, no matter their origin, are cooked over open coals,” Solomonov says. Accompanying the kebabs is one of Solomonov’s favorite dishes, an earthy eggplant, pepper and onion stew. The eggplant is fried before being pickled in a piquant dressing. “The eggplant in Israel is so much fresher that it’s almost sweet,” says Solomonov.”
Solomonov also gave Food & Wine a list of his favorite Israeli restaurants, including one that specializes in that most rare dish, foie gras kebab.