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Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel: A Cookbook

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel: A Cookbook

by Alon Shaya
Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel: A Cookbook

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel: A Cookbook

by Alon Shaya


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An exciting debut cookbook that confirms the arrival of a new guru chef . . . A moving, deeply personal journey of survival and discovery that tells of the evolution of a cuisine and of the transformative power and magic of food and cooking. From the two-time James Beard Award-winning chef whose celebrated New Orleans restaurants have been hailed as the country's most innovative and best by Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, GQ, and Esquire.
  • "Alon's journey is as gripping and as seductive as his cooking . . . Lovely stories, terrific food."
  • --Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Jerusalem: A Cookbook
  • "Breathtaking. Bravo." --Joan Nathan, author of King Solomon's Table

  • Alon Shaya's is no ordinary cookbook. It is a memoir of a culinary sensibility that begins in Israel and wends its way from the U.S.A. (Philadelphia) to Italy (Milan and Bergamo), back to Israel (Jerusalem) and comes together in the American South, in the heart of New Orleans. It's a book that tells of how food saved the author's life and how, through a circuitous path of (cooking) twists and (life-affirming) turns the author's celebrated cuisine--food of his native Israel with a creole New Orleans kick came to be, along with his award-winning New Orleans restaurants: Shaya, Domenica, and Pizza Domenica, ranked by Esquire, Bon Appétit, and others as the best new restaurants in the United States.
    These are stories of place, of people, and of the food that connects them, a memoir of one man's culinary sensibility, with food as the continuum throughout his journey--guiding his personal and professional decisions, punctuating every memory, choice, every turning point in his life. Interspersed with glorious full-color photographs and illustrations that follow the course of all the flavors Shaya has tried, places he's traveled, things he's experienced, lessons he's learned--more than one hundred recipes--from Roasted Chicken with Harissa to Speckled Trout with Tahini and Pine Nuts; Crab Cakes with Preserved Lemon Aioli; Roasted Cast-Iron Ribeye; Marinated Soft Cheese with Herbs and Spices; Buttermilk Biscuits; and Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Feta.

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    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780451494160
    Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
    Publication date: 03/13/2018
    Pages: 440
    Sales rank: 518,201
    Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.30(d)

    About the Author

    ALON SHAYA was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and calls New Orleans his home. The three celebrated restaurants he started and ran as executive chef/partner--Domenica, Pizza Domenica, and Shaya--reflect his culinary journey and love of Israeli and Italian cuisine. In 2017, Alon Shaya formed Pomegranate Hospitality to foster opportunities for colleagues, partners, and friends in a comfortable and professional environment where cultural differences are celebrated. Alon Shaya has been nominated for five James Beard Awards. In 2015 he was named "Best Chef, South" while at Domenica, and a year later, 'Shaya' was hailed as "Best New Restaurant". He was called one of the "50 People Who Are Changing the South" by Southern Living magazine, and by The Forward as one of the "50 Most Influential Jews in America". He is the author of a cookbook, Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel, published by Alfred A. Knopf, and with Pomegranate Hospitality he is opening two new restaurants: Saba in New Orleans and Safta in Denver.

    Read an Excerpt

    Marinated Soft Cheese with Herbs and Spices
    YIELD: 6 to 8 servings

    This dish was a revelation when Emily and I ate it in Milan: when you start with great ingredients, you’re wise not to mess with them. It’s a perfect moment of simplicity; at the right temperature, olive oil and cheese can be as flawless as anything that costs you far more time, money, or energy. Any brand of soft aged cheese will do—I like La Tur, a flawless mixed-milk cheese that’s as creamy as goat, with just a little sheep-y funk that’s softened by the cow’s milk. Have fun with the spices: throw in a couple cloves instead of the star anise, add a sprig of rosemary instead of the bay, or use lemon instead of orange.
    8-ounce wheel of soft goat or mixed-milk cheese, like La Tur
    3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
    1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
    ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
    ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 bay leaves
    1 dried árbol chile or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1 star anise pod
    Two 1-inch strips of orange peel, divided
    A crusty baguette
    Maldon or other flaky sea salt to finish

       1. Heat the oven to 325F. Put the cheese in the bowl or rimmed plate from which it’ll be served so that it can soften.
       2. Use the side of a knife or a rolling pin to lightly crush the garlic, just so it starts to open up in its skin. Lightly crush or roughly chop the allspice and coriander and add them with the garlic to a small ovenproof saucepan along with the olive oil, bay leaves, árbol chile, star anise, and 1 strip of orange peel. Cover with a lid and bake for 40 to 45 minutes; the garlic will be very golden and the orange rind will have darkened quite a bit.
       3. Once the sauce has come together, remove the saucepan from the oven and increase the heat to 425F. Take the second strip of orange peel and give it a little twist over the pan to release the oil, then drop it into the pan and let the oil cool down.
       4. Cut the baguette on a bias into ½-inch slices and arrange them on a baking sheet. Toast at 425F for 6 to 8 minutes, until they’ve built some nice color along the edges.
       5. Pour the oil over and around the softened cheese, letting the spices run free, and sprinkle the salt just before serving. Slather the toasts with cheese and encourage your friends to dab up every last drop of the infused oil.


    YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
    Plenty of water, for the Jerusalem artichokes, fava beans, and an ice bath
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt, divided
    ½ pound Jerusalem artichokes
    1 pound fava beans in their shells
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1pint cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
    1 small green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
    1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
    2 cloves garlic, minced

    One 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes

    1 egg per person

    ¼ cup zhoug (page 395)
    Eggs poached in a spicy, savory tomato sauce: this dish serves itself. It’s my go-to when I show up at someone’s house and everyone is hungry. Chances are, there are eggs and a can of tomatoes on hand. Outside of that foundation, you can be as creative or as simple about adding anything else as you like.
    Jerusalem artichokes, if you’ve never had them, taste and feel like a cross between potatoes and artichoke hearts; along with the fava beans, they make this dish special. They do need to be pre- pared separately, but you can do that in advance if it makes your life (and cooking timeline) easier. If you have trouble tracking either ingredient down, substitute any root vegetable—turnips, potatoes, even beets—for the Jerusalem artichokes, and a cup of shelled fresh or frozen beans, such as limas, for the fava beans.
    Once you put pan to stove, the rest of the dish comes together quite quickly, so, for the sake of the vegetables’ flavor and texture, make sure everything is prepped and ready to go. Dress it up or down with your favorite vegetables or meats—whatever’s on hand—along with any herbs and spices you like. Tomatoes are the perfect backdrop. You’ll need one egg per person, as few as two or as many as six. Part of the fun is making this dish your own, but one word of advice: try it with the zhoug, a spicy Yemeni green chile sauce, like the Middle Eastern approach to pesto. Its fresh, herbal heat is the perfect finishing touch.

       1. Fill a large pot with the water and 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil. Thoroughly scrub the Jerusalem artichokes; if they’re large or unevenly sized, cut them into even chunks. Boil for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re about the consistency of a cooked potato, easily pierced with a knife but not falling apart. Drain, and when they’re cool enough to handle, slice into little coins.
       2. Fill another pot with water and bring it to a boil; meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Cook the fava beans for 5 minutes, or until the outer shell puffs up and pulls away from the bean. The water in the pot will turn reddish, but don’t freak out—that’s normal. Shock the beans in the ice bath to stop the cooking, then shell them when they’ve cooled down. You should have about 1 cup beans.
       3. Add the olive oil to a large enameled or stainless-steel skillet that has a lid (but don’t use the lid just yet). Turn the heat to high, and when the oil is shimmering, pull the skillet off the heat and carefully add the cherry tomatoes; they’ll give off
a lot of smoke and may splatter. Place the pan back on the heat, and don’t stir; you want the tomatoes to char lightly in a few places.
       4. After a couple of minutes, when the tomatoes are starting
to blister, stir in the bell peppers, onion, and garlic.
Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or so, until all the vegetables are a little golden around the edges and the cherry tomatoes are melting into everything else.
       5. Decrease the heat to medium, and add the Jerusalem artichokes, favas, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Roughly crush the canned tomatoes between your fingers, or chop them, and add them to the pan with their juice. Cook the sauce for a couple of minutes, until it thickens slightly.
       6. Decrease the heat to medium-low, and use your spoon to make little divots in the sauce, one per egg. Crack an egg into each, cover the pan, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the egg white is set but the center still jiggles. Dollop a spoonful of zhoug over each egg before serving.

    Tabbouleh with Preserved Lemon and Almonds
    YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
    This simplest of salads always surprises people at Shaya. “How can parsley salad be so complex?” they ask. The answer is twofold: preserved lemon and baharat (page 000). Take the time to find (or make) these ingredients and it will pay off with flavor, although ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice is a pretty good replica of the baharat and freshly grated lemon zest can stand in for preserved lemon. Bear in mind, tabbouleh is a parsley salad—even the bulgur plays a supporting role—so it is only as good and fresh as the parsley you get. Find bunches with crisp, bright green leaves at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
    ¼ cup water
    ⅛ teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt, divided
    2 tablespoons bulgur wheat
    5 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon minced preserved lemon
    ½ teaspoon Baharat (page 000)
    ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 quarts lightly packed fresh parsley leaves (from about 4 bunches)
    1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
    A quarter of a red onion, finely chopped
       1. Bring the water to a boil with ⅛ teaspoon salt (this won’t take long since there’s so little of it). Put the bulgur in a small heatproof bowl, cover it with the boiling water, and cover with plastic wrap or foil until all the water is absorbed, 15 minutes or so. Fluff it with a fork and let it cool.
       2. Whisk together the lemon juice, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, preserved lemon, baharat, and allspice. Stream in the olive oil while you whisk to finish the dressing.
       3. Finely chop all the parsley and toss it in a large bowl with the bulgur, almonds, and onion. Drizzle in the dressing and mix by hand. Serve right away.

    Table of Contents

    Preface xi

    Notes on Cooking xiii

    I Echoes of Israel

    1 My Grandmother's Peppers and Eggplants

    Lutenitsa 8

    Watermelon and Feta Salad with Harissa 10

    Fried Eggplant with Caramelized Tomato and Goat Cheese 12

    Tomato Soup with Rice 15

    Bulgarian Lamb Kebabs 16

    2 Show-and-Tell Borekas

    Boreka Dough 22

    Everything Borekas 24

    Potato and Egg Boreka Tart 25

    Sweet Tahini Borekas 26

    3 Solo Hamantashen

    Peach and Mascarpone Hamantashen 30

    Israeli Salad 33

    Schmaltzy Potatoes 34

    Mom's Leek Patties 35

    Labneh Dip with Peppers and Radishes 38

    Yemenite Stewed Chicken 39

    4 Fishing with My Father

    Pan-Fried Whole Fish with Brown Butter 46

    A Good Turkey Sandwich 48

    Hungarian Paprikash 51

    Tarragon Dumplings 52

    Fennel Sausage 54

    II Rebellion and Redemption

    5 A Butcher and a Baker

    Kibbeh Nayeh 63

    Malawach 64

    Spicy Scallop Rolls 69

    Yogurt Pound Cake with Cardamom-Lemon Syrup 71

    Blueberry Rugelach 72

    6 Arrested for the Munchies

    Pastrami Scrambled Eggs 80

    Za'atar Toad in the Hole 83

    Shakshouka 84

    Special Sandwiches 87

    Green Butter 88

    7 Home Ec Hero

    Linguine and Clams "Carbonara" 91

    8 Wood Ovens and Butterflies

    Caesar Salad, 1990s Style 98

    Caesar Dressing 99

    Simple Cured Salmon 100

    Labneh Cheesecake with Pomegranate Caramel and Candied Nuts 102

    Pomegranate Caramel 104

    Orange Blossom Candied Nuts 105

    9 Trayf and Tribulation

    Kugel in Crisis 111

    Classic Hummus with Tahini 114

    Shortcut Hummus 116

    Shaved Cabbage Salad with Orange Blossom Vinaigrette 118

    Bright Green Falafel 121

    10 Vegas or Bust

    Roasted Marrow Bones with Gremolata and Brioche 126

    Lobster Green Curry 129

    Lobster Stock 132

    11 Steak for My Saba

    Cast-iron Ribeye 137

    Za'atar Chimichurri 138

    Brussels Sprouts with Caraway and Tahini 141

    Creamy Baked Fennel 142

    Vegetable "Pot Roast" with Duqqa 145

    12 Boss Man

    Five-Onion Soup with Provolone Toast 151

    Gnocchi with Fast Tomato Sauce 152

    Fast Tomato Sauce 155

    Chicken Milanese with Watercress and Lemon 157

    13 Safta's Last Lutenitsa

    Tzatziki 162

    Chilled Yogurt Soup with Crushed Walnuts 163

    Cherry, Jalapeño, and Cilantro Salad 165

    Roasted Beets with Tahini 167

    Salmon Roe Ikra 168

    Collard Spanakopita 169

    Stuffed Cabbage with Tomatoes and Onions 171

    Safta's Stewed Strawberries and Ice Cream 174

    III Finding Home in the South

    14 The Lost Crab Cakes of Katrina

    Crab Cakes with Preserved Lemon Aioli 185

    Preserved Lemon Aioli 186

    Roasted Speckled Trout with Tahini and Pine Nuts 187

    Israeli Couscous with Summer Vegetables and Caramelized Tomato 190

    15 Red Beans to the Rescue

    Emily's Famous Red Beans and Rice 197

    Green Salad with Green Dressing 200

    Green Dressing 200

    Arugula with Citrus, Olives, and Za'atar 203

    Tomato and Peach Panzanella 205

    Farro and Kale with Saffron Vinaigrette 206

    Apple and Fennel Salad with Candied Pecans 208

    16 Manischewitz for Willie Mae

    Buttermilk Biscuits 214

    Stewed Okra and Bacon over Grits 216

    Za'atar Fried Chicken 219

    How to break Down a Chicken 220

    Jim Core's Kale and Andouille Jambalaya 222

    17 Day Off for Dates

    Date Pancakes with Rose Tahini 227

    Ricotta with Date and Pecan Pesto 229

    Chicken Liver Pâté with Celery and Dates 231

    Dates, Turnips, and Bacon with Gorgonzola Dressing 233

    18 Not So Semplice

    Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Caprese 237

    Pesto 237

    Smoked Chicken with Harissa 239

    Roasted Chicken with Harissa 240

    Schmaltzy Cornbread with Gribenes 243

    Banana Bread with Carob Molasses Butter 244

    IV An Italian Sojourn

    19 A Bed by the Dough Mixer

    Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder 254

    Creamy Polenta with Taleggio 257

    20 A Real Live Nonna!

    Marinated Soft Cheese with Herbs and Spices 263

    Pickled Shrimp 264

    White Asparagus with Eggs and Speck 267

    Sea Bass in Cartoccio with Tomatoes and Olives 268

    Spiced Couscous 271

    21 My Italian Guardian Angel

    Tortelli d'Erbetta 277

    Fresh Pasta 280

    Pork and Mushroom Risotto 283

    Blackberry Torta della Nonna 286

    Chocolate-Hazel nut Semifreddo 289

    Chocolate-Candied Hazelnuts 290

    22 Enzo the Pizzaiolo

    Dough for Pizza and Pita 297

    Pizza Enzo 299

    Pita 302

    23 From Sunday to Domenica

    Bagna Cauda 308

    Bresaola Salad with Arugula and Parmesan 310

    Ricotta Cavatelli with White Bolognese 313

    White Bolognese 314

    Cherry and Pistachio Cookies 317

    Chocolate-Espresso Cookies 318

    V Homecoming

    24 Family Meal

    Smoked Goat Tacos 329

    Brussels Sprout Salad with Mustard and Toasted Almonds 333

    Parmesan and Nutmeg Stuffing 333

    Cranberry Sauce with Rosemary and Orange 335

    Curried Sweet Potato and Leek Pie 336

    Flaky Pie Crust 338

    Sous Vide Turkey 341

    Turkey Stock 344

    Gravy 345

    25 The Reluctant Israeli Chef

    Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Feta 350

    Charoset 353

    Tahini Chicken Salad 354

    Matzo Ball Wedding Soup 356

    26 An Israeli Restaurant in New Orleans

    Tabbouleh with Preserved Lemon and Almonds 365

    Moroccan Carrot Salad 366

    Baba Ganoush 368

    Avocado Toast with Smoked Whitefish 371

    Charred Cabbage with Olive Oil 372

    Matbucha 374

    Hazelnut and Pomegranate Muhammara 376

    Malabi with Strawberries, Rose, and Pistachio 376

    Halvah Iced Latte 378

    Halvah Syrup 379

    Moroccan Mint Tea 381

    VI Essentials

    Baharat 387

    Duqqa 388

    Harissa 389

    Hawaij 390

    Herb Salt 391

    Prepared Tahini 392

    Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette 393

    Rose Tahini 393

    Schmaltz and Gribenes 394

    Tahini Mayo 395

    Zhoug 395

    Acknowledgments 397

    Recipes by Category 399

    Index 403

    Customer Reviews

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