Fatteh, derived from an old Arabic verb meaning “to break bread and steep in liquid,” is a common dish across the Middle East. The base is bread, but the toppings vary from eggplants (aubergines) and chickpeas, to rice and a variety of meats. The sauces are just as varied with some yogurt-based, others tahini-based, and others broth- or lemon-based. Moona, a restaurant in Boston serving up creative Middle Eastern dishes based on pantry ingredients (moona means “pantry” in Arabic), has a version made with mushrooms. The first time I tried the dish, I was skeptical. “Mushrooms?!” I thought. But I was blown away by the flavors and textures. Mushrooms have an earthy, meaty taste that is superbly complemented by the sweet tartness of pomegranate molasses, the crunchiness of the toasted bread and nuts, and the brightness of the yogurt-tahini dressing. Just another example of how pushing boundaries can lead to delicious surprises.
This earthy, tangy main dish shares a sauce similar to my Pomegranate Sriracha Shrimp, but the tofu, soy sauce, and vegetables turn it into something distinctively delicious. Tofu is typically deep-fried for dishes like this one, but panfrying is a healthier way to inject richness and character. For texture, complexity, and color, I add mushroom and mild-tasting chiles. Anaheims are my go-to but during the warmer months when chiles are in season, I love to use varieties such as Hatch and Corno di Toro. In a major pinch, half a large bell pepper will do.
Quail are prized throughout the Mediterranean for their delicate flavor, which is milder and sweeter than that of many other game birds. Turning to a classic eastern Mediterranean staple, we glazed the skin with pomegranate molasses in two applications.
Next to our hummus, this is the dish that put Zahav on the map.
Thickly sliced eggplant brushed with a glossy pomegranate olive oil coating and broiled brings out an alluring, mouthwatering shade of mahogany.
I first tasted this wonderfully fresh salad years ago in a Lebanese restaurant and then recreated my own version.