If you want that grill taste without the smoke, try using a grilling pan. Chef Charlie Fadida of the gourmet Olive Leaf restaurant in the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv offers his version of the traditional Independence Day meal. He presents a few twists on familiar dishes and suggests using mulard, a hybrid that is a cross between goose and duck, and another very popular dish inspired by the local Palestinian cuisine, a ground lamb kebab grilled and served on a cinnamon stick.

ROASTED MULARD WITH CARAMELIZED FRUIT
Makes 6
✔ 3 pieces of mulard, about 200 gr. each
✔ 1 nectarine*
✔ 1 peach*
✔ 2 apricots*
✔ 2 figs*
✔ 2 Tbsp, fine sugar
✔ Kosher salt
✔ Freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 180º. Make crisscross cuts in the meat and place it on a heated skillet, skin side down, and sear. Do not add oil. Sear 4 minutes on each side and place in the oven for 6 more minutes.

Remove from the oven and let meat rest for 3 minutes.

Turn up heat to 250º. Cut fruit into wedges. Place in a lined baking sheet and sprinkle sugar. Place the baking sheet in the highest part of the oven for 3 minutes until sugar is caramelized.

Slice the meat and serve with the fruit.

* This year Independence Day comes early, so the summer fruit may not be available yet. Use other seasonal fruit instead.

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SWEET-AND-SOUR CHICKEN WINGS

This is a great dish for a large picnic.

✔ 1 kg. chicken wings
✔ 3 slices canned pineapple, chopped
✔ 1⁄2 cup of the pineapple liquid
✔ 2 tsp. cornstarch
✔ 3 Tbsp. sweet chili
✔ 2 Tbsp, vinegar
✔ 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
✔ 6 Tbsp. ketchup
✔ 1 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped
✔ 1 Tbsp. fresh coriander, chopped

Heat oven to 200º. Place wings in a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch in the pineapple liquid.

Cook sugar and vinegar in a large, heavy frying pan, mixing with a wooden spoon until sugar is melted and liquid turns into a dark caramel. Very carefully add all ingredients except chicken and let it simmer. Add cornstarch mixture and keep stirring. When the sauce thickens, add the baked chicken wings and cook 3 more minutes. Serve warm.

Note: You can serve it with a small salad made of strips of carrots, green onion, zucchini and other vegetables.

BUTCHER’S CUT SKEWER
Makes 6

✔ 750 gr. butcher’s cut beef, cut into large cubes
✔ 1 purple onion
✔ 1 green bell pepper
✔1 red bell pepper
✔ 6 pieces of smoked goose (optional)
✔ 6 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ Kosher salt
✔ Freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 200º. Cut vegetables into large cubes. Skewer meat and vegetables, alternating them. Season with oil, salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan and sear skewers on all sides. When ready to serve, place skewers in the oven for 4 minutes. Best served with handmade pita.

For the pita:
✔ 500 gr. sifted flour
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. salt
✔ 40 gr. dry yeast
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
✔ Lukewarm water

Place flour in a bowl and create a hole in the middle.

Place yeast, 1⁄4 cup water and sugar in the hole and mix gently.

Wait five minutes, add salt and mix. Gradually add water (about 1 cup), and knead until batter is smooth. Leave to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes, covered. Knead again and leave for 10 minutes more.

On the stove, heat a wok upside down. Divide batter into small balls, about 30 gr.

each, and roll or stretch with hands. Bake on the heated wok for 1 minute or until golden.

LAMB KEBAB ON A CINNAMON STICK
Makes 6

✔ 700 gr. ground lamb
✔ 300 gr. lamb fat
✔ 2 onions, chopped
✔ 4 cloves garlic, minced
✔ Coarse salt
✔ Ground black pepper
✔ 11⁄2 tsp. cumin
✔ 4 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
✔ 50 gr. pine nuts, roasted
✔ 1⁄2 cup soda water
✔ 18 cinnamon sticks

Mix all ingredients except cinnamon in a large bowl.

Knead well, using hands.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Make oval-shaped patties, and skewer each on a cinnamon stick.

Place all the kebabs on a baking sheet, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours (best to leave it overnight). Heat a grilling pan until very hot and sear meat on all sides, at least 2 minutes on each side. Serve with tomato salad.

For the salad
✔ 4 tomatoes, peeled and cubed
✔ 1 clove garlic, minced
✔ *1 hot chili pepper, roasted over open fire, peeled and chopped
✔ 10 Tbsp olive oil
✔ Juice of 1⁄2 lemon

Mix all ingredients.

Serve a small amount next to the kebabs.

*Use 1⁄2 chili if you prefer less spicy.

CHICKEN THIGHS WITH SUMAC
Makes 6

✔ 6 pieces of boneless thighs, cut into cubes
✔ 6 cherry tomatoes
✔ 1 purple onion, cubed
✔ 1 red hot chili, sliced
✔ 6 cubes smoked goose (optional)
✔ 6 tsp. olive oil
✔ 1 tsp. vinegar
✔ 1 tsp. sumac
✔ Kosher salt
✔ Black pepper

Skewer chicken meat, alternating with tomatoes, pepper and onion. If using smoked goose, add that as well.

To prepare marinade: Mix sumac, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Marinate skewers for 30 minutes, covered, in the refrigerator. Heat oven to 200º. Sear skewers on a grilling pan for 1 minute, then transfer to the hot oven for 10 more minutes. Serve with tabouleh salad.

For the tabouleh

✔ 1 bunch parsley, chopped
✔ 1⁄4 bunch mint, chopped
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ 1⁄2 cup bulgur, soaked in water until soft, and then squeezed to get water out
✔ 1⁄4 cup olive oil
✔ 1 tomato, chopped
✔ Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients and serve with meat.

Recipes and photos courtesy of The Olive Leaf, Sheraton Hotel, Tel Aviv




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