Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The last supper

Sadly I’m no longer in Tuscany, I wanted to say I can’t complain too much, since I’m in Emilia Romagna, however my luck has changed slightly and the current farm/B&B is very disappointing.

I’ll elaborate later; this post is still about Tuscany and good food I had/made there, no need to taint it with tales about tasteless food and people who hate garlic.
For our last day in Castello Di Potentino, we decided to make an ‘Israeli’ feast. That’s not the easiest task, since no food is truly Israeli, no food but one – Sabich (well, that’s also debatable, but never mind).

Sabich is probably the thing I miss the most in Israel, and it’s one of those things that are better to eat out than to make it yourself. Since I didn’t have that luxury, I decided to give it another try; I think it was a good idea.

First let me tell you what was included, since, a feast is of course more than just one thing, so, there was sabich of course (and everything it includes, I’m deliberately keeping it obscure for the moment), lots of tahini (not the easiest thing to get in south Tuscany), ‘Turkish salad’, falafel, lots of pitas, s’chug, Arabian salad (or Israeli, or whatever, I really don’t want to get into politics), a somewhat pickled cabbage, onions with sumac, and for some reason, brownies.

Most of these recipes were either posted already or very simple, so I’ll just give them all (the falafel recipe was promised months ago to friends from Haarlem – Here it is guys).


Sabich is basically fried eggplant in pita, it has many versions, I tried to make the classic one, which also includes a hardboiled egg and potatoes.
Ingredients (for a ‘complete’ sabich):


1 eggplant (for 2 people), peeled and cut into 1cm thick slices.
Oil (canola is best, although in this case I had to use olive oil).
Kosher salt.

- Place the eggplant slices on a large pan or tray covered with paper towels. Sprinkle a little salt over the eggplants, let them sit (preferably in the sun) for an hour.
- Lightly flour the eggplant on both sides.
- Heat a lot of oil in a large pan (usually its deep fried, but I tend not to do that at home), fry the eggplant thoroughly, it should be very soft, you can press it a bit with a fork if you feel it’s not getting cooked enough.


Potatoes (1 for two persons).
Olive oil.
Salt and pepper.

- Cook the potatoes (unpealed) in boiling water until you can comfortably stick a fork in them.
- Meanwhile heat oven to 200c.
- Slice the potatoes, arrange on a baking pan, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake for about 20 minutes.

Onions with sumack:

4 onions thinly sliced to half rings.
1tbs sumac.
Olive oil.

- Mix everything together and let sit for at least an hour.

I must say I feel really stupid giving a tahini recipe, but sadly, there are people living in remote places (Europe, North America) in which they don’t know the secrets of tahini.

Tahini (lets say, one cup)
1 lemon.
1 garlic clove, finely chopped.
½ tsp cumin.
½ hot paprika or cayenne pepper (not necessary).
Cold water.

- Pour the tahini into a deep bowl, squeeze half the lemon and stir.
- Add the garlic, and slowly start adding the water, the tahini will become though at first, but as you add more it’ll become liquid again. It’s important to add the water little by little, I don’t like my tahini too thin, but it’s a matter of taste.
- Add the rest of the ingredients; you may need to squeeze a bit more of the lemon.
Salad (unaffiliated):

2 Cucumbers (one if it’s huge) cut to very small dices.
4 Tomatoes, cut to very small dices.
1 Small onion, cut to very small dices.
Lemon juice.
Parsley, chopped finely.
Salt and pepper.
Olive oil.

- Mix everything together.

‘Building’ the sabich:

Take one pita, carefully cut it open on one side, spraed at least one tbs of tahini in it. Add Turkish salad, place two slices of eggplant inside, some of the onion with sumac, potato slice, hardboiled egg (a few slices), salad, one more eggplant slice (repeat that if you have any more room in the pita), finish with another tbs of tahini, salt, cumin, and parsley.



500g cooked chickpeas (On many occasions, such as this, I use other legumes, lentils, beans, fava beans, whatever you want).
Lots of parsley.
5 cloves of garlic.
1 cup breadcrumbs.
1tbs coriander seeds.
2tsp cumin.
2 dry chilies.
Lemon zest.
Salt and pepper.
Olive oil


- Place everything in a blender, blend until homogenous.
- Let the mix sit for at least two hours in the fridge, it should be dry before you fry it.
- Frying: Again, I tend not to do it deep fried, I think in this case using less oil ends with better results, you just want it toasted on all sides, I even tried to do it in the oven once and it came out great, in case you’re into health and such.


*Sadly this meal was poorly documented; I was so nervous and full of flour that I didn’t pay enough attention to taking proper pictures.
**I'd like to dedicate this post to all the people I met in castello: Charlotte, Chris, Alexander, Sally, Robyn, Peter, JD, Augusta, Anthony, Uran, Evellina, Robi, Flavio, Coco and Minie.

1 comment:

  1. Never stop writing. I love your blog. You made me crave sabich and I am going to have to do somthing about it...
    Also, your falafel recipe sounds delish. I am going to try it this weekend and promise to review.