It looks too traif to be true, but Geila Hocherman and co-author Arthur Boehm have really pulled it off with their new cookbook Kosher Revolution. Inside you’ll find the most exciting new recipes adapted from the finest in worldwide haute cusine, photographed by the extraordinary Antonis Achilleous. Geila and her genius ability to exchange un-kosher ingredients with kosher ones while still fundamentally maintaining the look, texture and – never to be confirmed – taste, of its original counterparts are more than praiseworthy, yet the outstanding photography makes your mouth water with possibility.
Geila’s gifts, mastery of taste chemistry and ingenious ingredient substitution, broaden the breadth and spectrum of cooking kosher. Her very elegant presentation is more than worthy of a cordon bleu Chef. Anthonis Achilleous‘ extraordinary talent for lighting, color, texture and capturing the most tantalizing angles of his composition, clearly illustrate that he is at the top of his art form among the best food photographers out there. Geila’s not a snooty chef either, if there is a way to save time or make a recipe user friendly, she does so.You’ll find her palate of adaptable ingredients refreshing and versatile as she looks to give an expansive kick in the pants to the sometimes mundane nearsightedness of traditional Jewish cooking.
When people challenge me to “make trayf safe,” they usually mention ham. This breakthrough recipe began with that dare—and my realization that what makes ham taste like itself has less to do with the meat than its cure. My quest for kosher prosciutto—nothing less!—led me first to smoked turkey leg, which is hammy all right, but hardly like the Italian specialty. I went to work, and, happily, scored a triple bull’s-eye by giving duck breast a really easy salt cure—just fifteen minutes of prep followed by a “set-it-and-forget-it” refrigerator stay. The resulting “prosciutto” is so much like the real thing, but with a special character all its own, you’ll be amazed. I pair this with grilled figs (page 26), a traditional prosciutto accompaniment, but that’s just the beginning. Try it wrapped around asparagus spears or, diced and sautéed, as a salad garnish.
To achieve paper-thin slices, I use an inexpensive electric slicer, a great kitchen investment. The very ends of the cured breast over-dry. Save them to put in soup. If you can’t find the Moulard breast, place two regular breasts together and cure as one.
- One 6- or 8-ounce package of muscovy duck breast
- 4 cups kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- Over a burner flame, singe away any remaining pinfeathers from the breast. Rinse the breast and dry it with paper towels.
- On a dish just large enough to hold the breast, make a 1-inch bed of the salt. Place the breast on the salt and cover it with another inch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
- In a small bowl, combine the coriander, fennel, and pepper. Holding the breast over the sink, rinse it with the vinegar (to remove the salt), and then under cold running water. Dry the breast and rub it all over with the spice mixture. Wrap the breast in cheesecloth and knot it at both ends. Using sturdy household tape (duct tape works well), attach one end of the cheesecloth to the top of the refrigerator interior, or hang the breast from a high refrigerator shelf, and let it cure until the breast feels firm but not dry, about 2 weeks. Start checking after a week. Thinner or smaller breasts will take less time.
- Using an electric slicer or a sharp carving knife, slice the breast paper thin or as thinly as possible. Place 3 melon slices on serving plates, drape with the prosciutto, and serve.”
Especially now around holiday time, go grab your own Kosher Revolution, hit the supermarket for some of the recommended stock items for your pantry and start putting some magic into your dishes. Once you get the hang of the revolutionary ingredient exchanges, Geila so deliciously demonstrates, nothing will prevent your launching your own kosher revolution.