ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Michael Solomon became known for his interpretation of Israeli cuisine.
MIKHAEL SOLOMONOV: I am also a cook and co-owner of Zahav's restaurant in Philly.
SHAPIRO: He and Zahaw received a prize. She also did a cooked book by Zahava. Now Solomon has a new cookbook called "The Israeli Soul".
SOLOMONOV: With the "Israeli Soul," we want you to get as much pleasure in the apartment, a small apartment in New York, as if you were walking along the streets of Jerusalem.
SHAPIRO: These are not recipes in the restaurant style. These are the types of street food that Solomon likes to eat when they visit Israel – falafel, shavarma, leafy, salty pies called bourekas.
SOLOMONOV: Spanac is a spiral.
SHAPIRO: Yes. Yes.
SOLOMONOV: Feta are triangles. Mushrooms are triangles. Potatoes are (laughter) a rectangle, you know? But that's what I get, when, when I get out of the plane. And they are – the bags are, like, greasy, and they are just incredible.
SHAPIRO: Solomon was raised between the United States and Israel. The Israeli boarder left had children from Russia and Ethiopia. Many Israelis lived only in the Middle East for several generations. Accordingly, Solomon explains that Israeli cuisine really has a lot of different rice cooking in a small piece of land. To demonstrate, he shows us how to make a Kuintessentialli Israeli meal at a friendly kitchen in Washington DC, D.C.
SOLOMONOV: That is why we will make a sandwich with a pinch and ask, which is – it is a very iconic Israeli dish in the sense that it is a honeycomb coming from Europe. And we put Hawaii inside, which is the generic word, the word of mouth, for the curry. Then we'll put an ambu on it.
SHAPIRO: What kind of manga …?
SOLOMONOV: That's right, which is like a mango cheese, coming from the Iraqi Jews, but from India. And then we'll serve him inside the pie, which is completely Arabic, you know?
SHAPIRO: So, when you talk about Israeli cuisine, make a meal containing elements of Eastern Europe, Yemen, Iraq, India …
SOLOMONOV: That's right.
SHAPIRO: … Arab world. This sounds like (laughs) everything that is thrown into a soup bowl.
SOLOMONOV: Exactly. The chicken drum is stuffed in a pie, so you can drive a car, talk on the phone, smoke cigarettes while eating a sandwich that makes it look like an Israeli.
(SOUNDBITE OF POUNDING)
SHAPIRO: Lupira chicken breasts. You can use other types of meat or even vegetables, such as zucchini. He drops the chicken into woven eggs tasted with a mixture of spices for the Yemenite, Hawaiian. Then, coat the cat, not the crumbs.
SOLOMONOV: And it produces this super thin, really unruly coral. And the washing of eggs acts as such, such as a solution or a type of marinade, which is great. And then do not duplicate, like flour crumbs.
SHAPIRO: Especially if you eat it in a pie.
SHAPIRO: Another Middle East? How to chill the chicken in a bowl, he sprinkles on a green blend, for a month.
SOLOMONOV: We put it absolutely. It's like salt and pepper.
SHAPIRO: So, this is something that parents would create, you eat like a child.
SOLOMONOV: This is a part, like, your birthright, I mean, like, an American Israeli. That's what you do. If my mom was out of town, and my dad would have filled me lunch, Vonder Hread would go, butter, a cold sandwich with a steak for lunch, which at that time would be embarrassing from me. Now, the best thing ever.
SHAPIRO: Solomon's grandmother and grandmother came from Bulgaria, so Šnitel was part of their family repertoire long before they moved to Israel after the Second World War. A funny, brown scissor goes into a fluffy, hot pie. Then he gets a few decorations.
SOLOMONOV: You do not have to, like, move with the tone of things.
SOLOMONOV: You need only a couple of good ingredients.
SAPIRO: Tomato, cucumber, sausage mango, called amba and sesame sauce, techina.
SOLOMONOV: Squeezing lemon.
SHAPIRO: Daddy has a history of sandwiches. He had a Subvai franchise, did not he?
SOLOMONOV: Yes. So my father owned the Sandwich Subway Store in Pittsburgh. And then, when we moved to Israel, he had two in Haifa.
SHAPIRO: How do you feel about the fact that you are now famous and successful, among others, with sandwiches?
SOLOMONOV: He loves him. You know, I was like a sandwich artist for him as a child.
SHAPIRO: Did you install sandwiches on Subvai?
SOLOMONOV: Yes. I was the worst employee. Definitely – he could have fired me.
SHAPIRO: No, no, no amba …
SOLOMON: (Laughter) No.
SHAPIRO: … There is no tech …
SOLOMONOV: No, not in Subvai.
SHAPIRO: … No, no.
Family history and world history in a manual bite. New Cookbook Michael Solomon, with co-author Steven Kuk, is called "Israel's soul".
(SOUNDBITE OF VILD IAKS? PARADISE?) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.