The Food of Jerusalem - Part 3: Kofta b'siniyah and Salad

Kofta b'siniyah and Salad

As the center of the Jerusalem meal, I made Kofta b'siniyah (pg 195). Kofta are really just meatballs, shaped more like torpedos than rounds.

What was interesting to me about the recipe is that, unlike most meatball or meatloaf style recipes I've tried, the kofta included no breadcrumbs or eggs. No binders at all, just ground lamb and veal, onions, garlic, pine nuts, parsley, 1 chile, and spices (cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg to be exact). You simply mix the ingredients until well combined, shape, and let them rest.

When you are ready to cook, you heat up oil in a skillet and preheat your oven. Brown the kofta on all sides and finish cooking to your desired doneness in the oven. I made mine closer to medium, so the kofta took about 6 minutes per batch to brown, and about 4 minuted more in a 400 F oven.

Even more interesting is the tahini sauce these are served on - a simple mixture of tahini, garlic and lemon juice. The brightness of the sauce balances the richness of the meat perfectly, and the garnishes of toasted pine nuts and parsley not only make a beautiful presentation, but they mirror flavors in the kofta and add extra texture.

And to complement the kofta, the authors suggest you serve a tomato and cucumber salad (pg 56). A simple dressing of lemon juice, lemon zest, sherry vinegar, olive oil, garlic and sugar gets mixed with tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, red pepper and herbs. Crunchy and fresh, and a traditional side.

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