Can there really be a cookbook co-written by an Israeli and a Palestinian? Yes, and it is a work of art! Yotam Ottelenghi, from the Jewish West, and Sami Tamimi, from the Arab East, have written a gloriously beautiful book, “Jerusalem”, which is a cookbook with wonderful recipes but also gorgeous photos and personal commentary that portray life in Jerusalem where they both grew up, albeit in different parts of the city. They didn’t know each other in Jerusalem but met later in London and became good friends and then business partners. They now own many successful restaurants together. They claim that this book was a walk down memory lane for them, “a nostalgic trip into their pasts”. More about “Jerusalem”
My friend, Stephanie, brought this book back from Israel for my birthday last year and I thought it appropriate to try one of it’s dishes for Passover. I made their Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon which was delicious. The combination of lemon, artichoke, halved shallots, garlic and sliced lemon combined with saffron and fresh herbs was really flavorful. I couldn’t find Jerusalem artichoke so substituted canned artichoke quarters packed in water. I used local, free range chicken, herbs from my garden and lemons from my tree in an effort to make a smaller footprint (and frankly, to support the small local growers because if it’s a profitable to let chickens run around in the sunshine, maybe more will follow suit).
So now I know why fava beans are so expensive. I had planted fava beans as a cover crop to introduce nitrogen into the soil for my summer tomatoes, not realizing that you are supposed to pull or plow under cover crops when they are flowering and not let them fruit or they pull all the nitrogen back out of the soil. ( More Info on Cover Crops Thank you Sean for all the cover crop info! ) I had already messed up on the cover crop thing since I had quite a few fava bean pods growing on my plants already, so I decided to let them go a bit longer and enjoy a mini harvest. It seemed a shame to throw out such beautiful, healthy plants so I procrastinated a bit more. Then we had dinner at a great local restaurant, Farmshop, which offered a roasted halibut on a bed of spring vegetables with fava leaves. What? You can eat the leaves? I had to order the dish just to see for myself. The dish was delicious but more importantly I now know what to do with my favas. Finally I can feel good about pulling out my plants before their time. So why are fava beans so expensive? First, a big pile of fava beans in their pods shrinks into a small bowl of edible beans. Secondly, they require a four step process before they are edible. First they need to be shelled, then parboiled and put straight into an ice bath and finally their skins have to be removed. Luckily I had two capable helpers, Veronica and Eric who made quick work of the favas. How to shell fava beans.
I paired the chicken with a spring vegetable medley which includes fava beans, fava leaves, zucchini, asparagus and baby bella mushrooms all diced to be the same size as your average fava bean. I was really wishing my Dad was in the kitchen to help out as well. He is the world’s best sous chef. He wields the paring knife like a master, cutting everything beautifully into the perfect same size so everything cooks at the same rate. Luckily, I learned from the best!.
Jerusalem Chicken aka Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon
- 1 lbs Artichokes, peeled and cut lengthwise so they are 2/3 thick
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 bone-in chicken breasts
- 12 shallots, halved lengthwise
- 12 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 medium lemon, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tspn saffron threads
- 3.5 tbsp of olive oil
- 2/3 cup of cold water
- 1.5 tbsp of crushed peppercorns
- 1/4 fresh thyme
- 1 cup of tarragon leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Combine artichoke, water and half of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, and then lower to simmer for 10-20 minutes. If you are using canned or marinated artichokes, this is not necessary.
Mix all ingredients (except the lemon juice and half of the tarragon) in a bowl. Cover and let marinade overnight, or at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 475degrees. Arrange chicken with the skin up in the center of the pan. Place the remaining ingredients around them.
Roast for 30 minutes uncovered.
Roast for additional 15 minutes, covered with foil or top, or until full cooked.
Add the reserve tarragon and lemon juice.
Stir, taste and add salt if necessary.
Fava & Spring Vegetable Saute
Dice all vegetables (except for fava beans and leaves) and set aside.
- Heat oil in a heavy pan and sauté garlic and diced vegetables.
- Add herbs, fava beans and leaves and stir until leaves are wilted.
- Salt and pepper to taste.