Tastes of the Shuk, With a Glass (or two?) of Wine
Chef Yochanan Lambiase with Adam Neustrader
Mahane Yehuda is also known as The Shuk, because it's the largest shuk in Jerusalem.
The Shuk is always a hub of excitement from the moment it opens its stalls. Every step is a gourmet experience with the sight of fresh fruits and vegetables, the aromas of fresh herbs and spices. So what better place is there to take the students of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute (JCI), our budding chefs, for one of their first trips, than to the shuk? The tour gives these new chefs a real experience in discovering the cornucopia of fresh produce and an understanding of how they are integrated in cooking.
Israel is a natural fit for JCI and the shuk. Famous for her fresh herbs, goats cheeses and olive oil, in Israel everything is homegrown and full of flavour. Cooking with such natural ingredients it is easy to make great food. Here are a few recipes to get you started...
Batayavon (hearty appetite),
Chef Yochanan Lambiase is Founding Director and Chef Patron of The Jerusalem Culinary Institute. Born into 5 generations of well-known chefs, he trained at Westminster Hotel School and has a BTec in Business Management. He trained with Raymond Blanc and Jamie Oliver, and worked at the Ritz and the Savoy in London as well as the Sheraton Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem. Chef Lambiase has won medals at international Hotelympia competitions and has represented Israel at the Culinary Olympics.
With the goal of training a new generation of chefs to cook kosher for the discerning palette, The Jerusalem Culinary Institute (JCI) was founded in 2003. It is the first and only Mehadrin culinary institute of its kind. Located 20 minutes outside of Jerusalem in a beautiful Tuscan style building JCI boasts 4 industrial kitchens, a media enabled food theatre and an impressive staff. For more information about The Jerusalem Culinary Institute visit www.jerusalemculinaryinstitute.com
This dressing is a lovely yellow color, and we use it on a mixed green salad (mixed Romaine and European greens), tossed with small broccoli and cauliflower florets, raisins or sweetened dried cranberries, and shredded Cheddar or crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. The sweet-tart zestiness of the dressing perks up the salad! The yield depends on how much salad dressing you prefer. For us, this recipe makes enough dressing for about 4 large salads.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
In a jar with a lid, mix the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, honey, basil, and vinegar. Seal and shake well. Chill 2 hours in the refrigerator. Strain basil before serving.
ROASTED TOMATO AND GOATS’ CHEESE TART WITH THYME
If we are lucky in the kitchen garden, we will have lots of very red, sun-ripened tomatoes. I always make masses of fresh tomato and basil sauce and lots of gazpacho, which only tastes good when the tomatoes are very red and ripe. This year I’ve also got a brilliant new recipe which once you’ve made, I guarantee you will go on making because it’s just about the easiest and most sublime tomato recipe on record. It’s great as a starter or as a main course with a salad. Serve it at any outdoor eating event (it’s even good cold on a picnic). You’ll just have to make it to believe it.
1 lb 10 oz (725 g) ripe plum tomatoes, or any other ripe medium-sized tomato
5 oz (150 g) soft goats’ cheese
4 level teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus a few small sprigs
1 x 375 g pack fresh, ready-rolled puff pastry
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly milled black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).
You will also need a large baking tray measuring 16 x 12 in (40 x 30 cm), lightly oiled
1. To begin the recipe, first of all unwrap the pastry and place it on the baking tray. Then, using a sharp knife, carefully score a line on the
pastry, about ½ inch (1 cm) in from the edge, all the way around, but be careful not to cut it all the way through.
2. Now tip the goats’ cheese into a small bowl, add the crushed garlic, chopped thyme and a good seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper. Then give it all a good mixing and, using a small palette or other round-bladed knife, carefully spread the cheese mixture evenly all over the surface of the pastry, right up to the line.
3. Next, thinly slice all the tomatoes (there is no need to peel them) and arrange them on top of the goats’ cheese in overlapping lines lengthways; overlap one line one way and the one next to it the other way. After that, season the tomatoes, drizzle the olive oil and scatter the sprigs of thyme all over them.
4. Bake in the pre-heated oven on the middle shelf for 55 minutes or until the pastry is golden-brown and the tomatoes are roasted and slightly charred at the edges. If you are going to serve the tart warm, leave it to settle for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares
SEARED TUNA WITH WARM WHITE BEANS AND EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
This is an update on a classic Tuscan fall meal. The only plan-ahead part is remembering to soak the beans overnight.
1 cup dried beans (great northern, cannellini or similar bean)
4 cups (pareve) chicken flavored 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
pure olive oil
1. Soak beans overnight with water to cover plus a couple inches at room temperature.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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
Until about 20 years ago, kosher wines were primarily red, syrupy sweet, thick, coarse and so primitive that they were shunned by wine lovers of even the least bit of sophistication. Somewhere in the early 1980's, several wineries in Israel became aware that there was a demand for high quality kosher wines and, as these wines began to make their way to market, consumers responded enthusiastically. People quickly realized that nowhere in the wisdom of the ages was it written that observant or traditional Jews had to drink bad wine. More important, many of these wines have attained a level of quality high enough that they need make no apologies whatever for their status as "kosher".
Israel is producing some extremely high quality wines at present so I thought I would like to share some of my views of the best wines in Israel.
Adam Neustrader is Senior Wine Lecturer at The Jerusalem Culinary Institute. He has a career spanning 18 years and has lectured all over the United States on the processes of making, tasting and selling various types of alcoholic beverages. Mr. Neustadler has consulted some of New York's finest restaurants about their wine lists and trained their staffs. He has acted as a spirit educator at "Whiskey fest" in New York City and is also a certified bar tender.
Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Katzrin, 1996: Still young and tannic, but already showing remarkable complexity and balance. Loaded with flavors and aromas of red and black currants, cherries, prunes and smoky oak, and even now showing hints of the chocolate and tobacco aromas and spicy flavors that it will develop as it ages, this full bodied wine has excellent integration between fruit and oak. This wine will only fully blossom in four or five more years and will then continue to develop nicely in the bottle and has the potential for fine drinking until 2010-2015. NIS 270. $55.00. Score 92. (Israel)
Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 1997: Supple, rich and complex, this harmonious wine has layers of ripe cherry, black currants plum, and spicy oak flavors. Smooth tannins make the wine drinkable and appealing now and even though it may not be meant for really long-term storage it will be even better with short-term cellaring and should be at its best in about three more years. Full bodied and with flavors that linger nicely. NIS 95.00. $24.00. Score 91+. (Israel)
Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 1998 (advance tasting): Dark, ripe and intense, marked by plum, prune, cherry, currant and mineral notes this still young wine finishes with firm tannins and a definite sense of finesse. Give the wine a few years and watch for currant, vanilla, and a hint of anise to develop in its flavors and aromas. The wine will be appealing when released but promises to develop nicely for 8 - 10 years. Estimated future price NIS 95/$50.00. Score 91. (Israel)
Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Yarden, 1998: Ripe, complex and bold, delicious and elegant, with tiers of rich plum, currant and blackberry flavors and aromas, smooth tannins and a deep aftertaste that lingers nicely on the palate. A blend of 85% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in small oak barrels for 14 months, the wine can be approached now but will store nicely for at least 6 - 8 years longer. Worth buying a case or more to watch the development of the wine over the years. NIS 84. $20.00 Score 91. (Israel)
Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Jonathan Tishbi Special Reserve 1998: Full bodied (which surprises from this winery), and brimming with cassis, plum and berry flavors and aromas, all with light spicy overtones. Well balanced and with tannins that are smoothing out nicely to reveal flavors of oak, chocolate and even a hint of anise. NIS 139. Score 90. (Israel)