A summer meal from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem is my kind of cookbook – documenting a food culture centered around a particular region and history, omitting all foams tweezers sous-viding and modernism, and including beautiful photography.

This meal was inspired by eGullet user Soba70’s recent explorations of this book.

First I made filfel chuma (also known as pilpelshuma), a Libyan Jewish hot sauce. (May I point out that Ottolenghi’s instruction to “soak the ancho chile in boiling water for 30 minutes” is very unclear – it could mean that you should pour boiling water over the chile and let it sit off the heat for 30 mins, or it could mean boil the chile for 30 minutes. It means the former.)

See here for Soba’s step-by-step instructions. Taking a visual cue from him, I cut down the quantities of cayenne and sweet paprika by about half. I also left the caraway seeds whole and halved the quantity of garlic per his recommendation. It’s a crazy-great sweet and bitter relish, somewhat like harissa, but drier:

I then made Palestinian fried tomatoes with garlic, again taking Soba’s lead – cooking the crushed garlic cloves, and subbing filfel chuma for the fresh chile. I had to fry in batches with a fairly large skillet – you really need your largest sauté pan for this. Perfect summer dish, and I was even able to find worthy heirlooms at Eataly (since USGM is closed on Sundays):

Finally, the well-known chicken with caramelized onion and cardamom. This really is a perfect dish. I got it better this time than the first time – maybe better chicken, but also high-quality Ceylonese cinnamon from The Spice House, which I’m now certain is the right kind of cinnamon for this dish: