Chanukah: Olive Recipes
Chef Yochanan Lambiase
"And you (Moses) shall instruct the children of Israel and they shall take olive oil to you" for the kindling of the menorah in the Sanctuary. But Aaron was the one charged to light the menorah; why must we take our olive oil to Moses?
Olives are a metaphor for the Jewish people. In the words of our sages, just as oil is extracted when the olive is compressed so does the Jew reveal his oil when he is oppressed. Oil refers to the inner resolve of our neshama (soul) that emerges in times of challenge.
The Wick and the Flame
However, oil alone cannot produce light, it requires a wick and a flame. The wick is the Jew and the flame is Torah. Moses, as the source of Torah, is able to touch the flame to the oil and wick. This is why we, the wick, are instructed to bring our inner resolve, the oil, to Moses, the source of Torah.
We are a stubborn nation. When our position is challenged we tend to cling tenaciously. We produce plenty of oil; but without a flame the oil is useless. Our resolve must be inspired by Torah, our fight must be directed by Torah and our loyalty must be exclusively to Torah.
Founder of The Jerusalem Culinary Institute
Italian Tapenade of Green and Black Olives
A classic tapenade. For a delicious variation, blend in finely chopped roasted red radicchio.
1 cup pitted green olives
1 cup pitted black olives
1 small orange’s zest
1 small lemon’s zest
2 anchovy filets
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 sprigs Italian parsley
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Fresh rosemary or thyme (optional)
Chop the olives finely and put in a bowl. Chop the zest and add to olives. In a mortar and pestle mash the anchovy filets and garlic and add to olives. Add the parsley and olive oil. Let sit for 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Makes about 2 cups.
Succulent Seared Tuna with Warm White Beans and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup dried beans, (great northern, cannellini or similar bean)
4 cups Vegetable stock or water
1 yellow onion
1 head garlic
4 tuna steaks, about 6 oz. each
sprig rosemary and parsley
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
Soak beans overnight with water to cover plus a couple inches at room temperature. Drain the water and put beans in a heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with water or stock or combination thereof bringing the level a couple of inches above the beans. Quarter the onion, halve the garlic and add to the pot. Bring up to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook until tender, about 40 minutes. Beans should be soft but not falling apart. Remove the onion and garlic. Add a good pinch of salt, some freshly chopped thyme and let the beans cool. Adjust seasoning and drain excess liquid. You want enough liquid that the beans remain moist but not swimming. Sometimes I add a touch of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to the beans.
Trim any blood line from the tuna steaks. Brush with some olive oil, chopped rosemary and parsley, and some salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet and add a splash of olive oil. When oil is almost smoking carefully add steaks. Sear on each side about 1 minute or until desired doneness. Remove from heat.
Ladle the warm beans onto a plate. Drizzle some extra virgin oil over the beans. Place the tuna on the beans and top with aioli or tapenade
Classic Braised Lamb Shanks with Gremoulata
8 lamb shanks (one per guest)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 sprigs rosemary
1/2 bunch thyme
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups chicken stock
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 head garlic, halved sideways
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon, chopped
1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
Trim excess fat from shanks. Chop the rosemary and thyme and rub onto shanks. Salt and pepper generously.
Take a large heavy-bottomed skillet or braiser with lid. Heat a film of olive oil. Add shanks to hot oil and brown on all sides. Remove shanks and pour off any fat. Deglaze pan with red wine scraping up meat bits. Reduce liquid by half. Add stock and vegetables. Arrange shanks on top and bring up to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover with tight fitting lid and simmer gently on stove or in oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender to the touch. Remove from heat and let cool until cool enough to handle. (Can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated which makes it easy to remove any fat).
Remove shanks to a platter and strain the broth. Pass the vegetables through a food mill and add back to broth. If you don’t have a mill, chop in a food processor and pass through a medium sieve to remove the fibers. Add shanks to broth and heat through. When ready to serve top with gremoulata.
To make gremoulata mix all chopped ingredients with your hands in a small bowl