To open up the pages of Israeli Soul, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is to feel as if you are stepping right into the bustling, noisy walkways of Israel's open air food markets. You can almost hear the sounds, catch the sights and sense the aromas of Jerusalem's Shuk Machane Yehuda or Tel Aviv's Shuk Hacarmel. Whiffs of the freshly-baked pita and rugelach lining the tables, and aromas wafting from the spits spinning juicy shwarma. The Hebrew and Arabic shouts of vendors hawking their wares and, of course, the obligatory haggling that precedes every purchase. Stalls staggerings under their loads of the most fresh, colorful produce and juice stands crafting custom made juices that promies to cure every ailment.
This is what it's like to browse the pages of Israeli Soul, the latest cookbook by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, the James Beard award-winning chefs and co-owners of the popular Philly eatery, Zahav—also the name of their previous, bestselling cookbook.
The book's publication was timed with Israel's 70th anniversary and the recipes, as well as the vignettes that precede them, give a taste of the country's culturally diverse nature. They're a testament to the happily messy combination of influences that make up the fabric of Israeli society - Ashkenazi, Morrocon, Tunisian, and everything in between. Below are three recipes from inside their pages.