Touch the etrog

In fact, why not cook with it? Here are a few ideas including chicken with root vegetables and etrog pie.

Amberjack fillet tartar (photo credit: Boaz Lavi)
Amberjack fillet tartar
(photo credit: Boaz Lavi)
The etrog is one of the symbols of Succot. So much so, that the price of a perfect etrog may be very steep. But you may find a lessthan- perfect etrog in the market in time for the holiday, and what could be more fitting than cooking with the fruit for Succot? Orel Kimchi, 29, began his culinary education at Tadmor and has studied and specialized in the finest restaurants in Israel and abroad (e.g., Arzak in San Sebastian, Joel Robuchon in Paris). He ran cooking classes in New York and was the chef of Cavalier in Jerusalem. He now has his own celebrated restaurant in Tel Aviv called Popina, where he showcases his culinary expertise. For Succot, he suggests replacing the lemon traditionally used in the following dishes with etrog.
Here are three options, but you may think of a few more.
✔ 300 gr. fillet of amberjack (called intias in Israel), cut into 1x1-cm. cubes ✔ Flesh of 1 etrog (citron) ✔ Zest of 1 etrog ✔ 1 shallot, chopped ✔ 2 Tbsp. chopped chives ✔ 1 nectarine or mango, cubed ✔ 2 Tbsp. fish eggs (the green kind is called tobiko), optional ✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Salt and pepper
Mix together all the ingredients except the fish eggs. Season to taste.
Arrange the mixture in a ring or mold and press. Remove ring / mold and garnish with the fish eggs (see photo).
✔ 4 chicken thighs on the bone ✔ 400 gr. Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, cut into 3-cm. pieces ✔ 1 large onion, cubed ✔ 4 garlic cloves ✔ 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-cm. chunks ✔ 1 etrog, thinly sliced ✔ 2 cups white wine ✔ 6 Tbsp. canola oil ✔ Salt and pepper ✔ 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Heat oil in a wide low pot and brown the chicken on all sides. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the wine, and sauté. Add the wine and enough boiling water to cover.
Cook over low heat for 75 minutes or until chicken is cooked but still intact.
Serve with the sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro.
If you serve this at a dairy meal, use butter and cream instead of the margarine and parve whipped cream. The pastry is a little different than your usual pie crust but is easy to handle.
✔ 5 eggs ✔ 260 gr. sugar ✔ 1 tsp. vanilla extract ✔ 60 gr. margarine ✔ 120 ml. etrog juice ✔ 140 gr. flour ✔ 250 ml. parve whipping cream
Mix together 2 egg yolks, melted margarine, vanilla and 60 gr. sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add flour gradually while mixing until dough is smooth.
Roll the dough to 1 cm. thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to an oiled 22-cm. pie baking dish, prick with a fork and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 150°.
Bake the crust for 20 minutes, covered with aluminum foil, with dry beans or chickpeas as weights. Remove from oven and turn heat to 120°.
Meanwhile, in a mixer bowl, mix together 300 gr. sugar, etrog juice, cream and 3 eggs until smooth.
Pour the custard into the cooled pie crust, return to the oven and bake at 120° for 40 minutes.
Chill and serve garnished with powdered sugar, whipped cream or ice cream.
The recipes and the photos are courtesy of chef Orel Kimchi and Popina restaurant.
Popina is located in the heart of Tel Aviv’s Neveh Tzedek neighborhood in a renovated Ottoman building, with a beautiful garden. The restaurant offers innovative Mediterranean cuisine based on five cooking techniques – pressing, steaming, baking, roasting and slow cooking.
3 Ahad Ha’am St., Neveh Tzedek, Tel Aviv, (03) 575-7477