My husband will happily eat chicken out of a can.
He likes kokoretsi — squiggly lamb intestines roped around a melded mush of lamb heart, lung and brain.
He has slurped down not one duck testicle, but two.
Needless to say, the man is not a picky eater. But when it comes to his beloved falafel, he is almost impossible to please.
But I think I managed to woo him!
Nothing, he says, compares to the falafel he grew up eating in Israel. And he’s right. He’s taken me to eat falafel in Tel Aviv and Netanya, and I have yet to find a match in the states. It’s not the actual falafel itself that is such a standout, it’s the smorgasbord of gorgeous salads that accompany the meal. I was not prepared for the onslaught of salads that were placed on our table during our first meal in Tel Aviv. I was so surprised by the sheer number that I actually counted them up. We were served 23 different salads. Yes, 23. Twenty three different ways to prepare eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, lemons, avocados, beets, cabbages, carrots and greens. We stuffed our pitas full of the salads, ate some off the top, and re-stuffed. And re-stuffed. And re-stuffed. It was healthy and delightfully satisfying — “fast” food at its best.
So, that was my challenge last week — to make falafel and an array of salads to please our palates. I certainly didn’t create 23 different salads, but I did manage to turn out 5 salads plus a tahini sauce, not to mention softly-boiled eggs and freshly fried falafel. It was quite a bit of work the first time, but the salads kept beautifully so turning out leftovers on a weeknight was easy. Not much beats a delicious meal and a happy husband.
The Falafel Bar
Roasted red pepper salad with harissa
Israeli salad: Finely chop the following and mix with lemon juice and salt and pepper: red onion, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh mint and/or parsley
Eggplant salad: thinly slice and grill eggplants. Stuff into pita with everything else
Onion salad: thinly slice red onions. Toss with mint, lemon juice, salt and sumac
Tahini sauce: whisk tahini with lemon juice and warm water. Salt and pepper to taste